New South Wales roads are set to see an upgrade with an additional $150 million of funding from the Australian and NSW Governments going towards Round 2 of the Fixing Local Roads Program. These upgrades will be used to repair, patch, maintain and seal local roads.
Following the recent devastating floods, many additional road repairs will be needed, and further infrastructure funding is required. When these road repairs are undertaken, the government should take the opportunity to add additional features to these repaired and renewed roads.
For example, clear lane markings will enable lane keep assist technology to work correctly. Improvements to road surfacing will open up these roads to heavy vehicles that previously couldn’t use them due to the poor-quality surfacing. This is likely to have an overall positive impact on efficiency and travel time and alleviate driver pressure to meet allocated time slots for delivery.
While NatRoad applauds the government for committing to increasing the safety of roads, improvements to road surfaces alone are not enough, poor road design also makes safe driving behaviour difficult for drivers and increases the likelihood of driver errors.
NatRoad would like governments to ensure that shoulders are constructed on key freight routes so heavy vehicle drivers can more easily avoid other road users such as cyclists, without having to travel on the other side of the road. Members have reported several near misses where vulnerable road users are sharing the road in circumstances where there are no hard road shoulders.
While improvements to local roads are welcome, similarly repairing, patching, maintaining and sealing local roads will not be enough to make these roads truly safe and reliable, certainly not if they are frequently used by heavy vehicles.