Heathcote Road victim's partner welcomes $173 million upgrade

Susie Smith says a $173 million funding upgrade of Heathcote Road may not have saved her partner Drew Cullen, but it will benefit others.

Mr Cullen, an off-duty firefighter, was killed in 2015 after the ute he was driving was crushed on the narrow bridge over Woronora River at Engadine, which will be upgraded as part of the project.

Truck driver Albert Cvetkovski, 44, who was travelling in the opposite direction when his vehicle and Mr Cullen’s car collided, was sentenced to at least two years jail for dangerous driving.

At the time of the accident, Ms Smith was feeding the couple’s daughter Tahlia, 16 months, in their Engadine home when images of the horror crash flashed on the TV.

While the details of two small vehicles involved in the collision were unclear, "I knew straight away it was Drew", she said at the time.

"I kept calling his mobile, but it just rang out,” she said.

Three years later, Ms Smith welcomed the $173 million, which is included in the state budget to be delivered next week.

“i think any upgrade is a good upgrade,” Ms Smith said.

“I don’t know if it would have saved Drew because the truck driver had methamphetamine in his system and he was convicted of dangerous driving.

“But, anything that is done to make the road safer for others has to be good.

“It was built more than 70 years ago and was never designed for the traffic it is now taking.”

Heathcote MP Lee Evans said he was advised $130 million of the $173 million would be spent at the eastern end of Heathcote Road.

He said “at this stage” the plan was to widen the lanes on the bridge, but it would still be one lane in each direction.

“Community consultation would take place later in the year, he said.

Mr Evans said the approach roads on both sides would be widened to two lanes.

At the other end of Heathcote Road, the 2.2 kilometre section between Infantry Parade and The Avenue at Holsworthy will be duplicated.

The bridge at Engadine has been the scene of many serious accidents over the years.

Mr Evans said he expected the work to start over the next two years and tenders for the approach roads called late this year.

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