Bega's highway blackspot: What can be done?

A MULTI-CAR incident on the Princes Hwy near Bega on Saturday was yet another on a stretch of road becoming known as a dangerous blackspot.

The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter was tasked to Bega Hospital after a multi-car crash on the Princes Hwy.

The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter was tasked to Bega Hospital after a multi-car crash on the Princes Hwy.

The incident occurred at the northern end of Bega near Whymans Rd, on a bend just past the Bega Lookout.

There were no fatalities, however the Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue helicopter was called to Bega Hospital to attend the injured.

The accident happened about 9.20am on Saturday during the rain. 

The spot has been the scene of several incidents in the past 12 months, most occurring during wet weather. 

In March 2013 two women were seriously injured following a head-on collision during wet weather (BDN, 2/4/13).

In November 2013 a Bega Valley man was killed in a two-car collision in which five others were seriously injured, again during inclement weather (BDN, 14/11/13). 

Following the incident, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) installed large “slippery when wet” signage to both sides of the Princes Hwy before and after the Bega Lookout turnoff. 

However, wet weather is still a catalyst for car accidents on this stretch of road, which currently has a 100kmh speed limit. 

In mid-March there were two incidents in the same spot on consecutive days during wet conditions. 

Saturday’s incident sparked a debate on the Bega District News Facebook page about ways to make this stretch of road safer. 

Gail Suthern, the wife of the man killed in November, wrote she believed a lower speed limit is the answer. 

“My husband lost his life there only a few months ago and if the speed limit had been 60 or 70 I may still have my husband and my kids their dad, so lower the speed limit there,” she wrote.

“How many more people have to suffer before the people in charge lower the speed limit?”

Jason Lewington believed changing the speed limit was not the answer, but like many other posters thought the road was "worth resurfacing".

Ang Hutley, who was involved in Saturday’s incident, posted that speed was not at fault or wet weather, noting “that corner is dangerous when it’s dry”.

Other posters believed a metal or concrete barrier on the bend between the south and north-bound lanes below Bega Lookout would save lives. 

Member for Bega Andrew Constance said he was aware of community concern about the blackspot and agreed something needed to be done.

“At this point we haven’t had any formal complaints to my office, but I am very aware of all the chatter on social media about and it leaves no doubt that it’s a section of road that needs to be looked at.

“It’s up to the RMS to do this, to explore the history of this section of road and what can be done to stop these incidents from occurring.

“Perhaps it needs a lower speed zone or a concrete barrier, but that’s up to the RMS to determine. 

“However, something needs to happen and it’s definitely something I will be bringing up with the NSW Roads Minister,” he said.


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