Killer road needs fixing

Deadly stretch: Nothing has changed on the Heathcote Road since Patrick Kennedy was a paramedic in the 1980s. Picture: John Veage
Deadly stretch: Nothing has changed on the Heathcote Road since Patrick Kennedy was a paramedic in the 1980s. Picture: John Veage

How many more crashes will take place on the Heathcote Road between now and the next state election on March 23?

The time is over for empty speeches. The time is over for rehashing old announcements and time wasting reviews just to get the issue past the election. And testing wire barriers. 

What is there to test? No more ‘further investigations.’ Let’s make this road safer for our loved ones.

As a former intensive care ambulance paramedic I spent a lot of time trying to save the lives of people involved in car crashes right along this roadway. 

Hearing the sirens heading down the Heathcote Road and reading the media reports tells me nothing has changed since I was ‘on the road.’ 

The first death I witnessed in a car crash was on the Heathcote Road near the Princes Highway. I was off duty and on the scene just after the crash occurred. The young man killed was only 22. I was back on this killer road as a paramedic between Heathcote and Liverpool many times attending the injured and the dead.

Let’s forget about what hasn’t been done to this road by successive governments. 

Local members, Liberals Lee Evans, Mark Speakman and Eleni Petinos, have been part of a government which has held the purse strings for some considerable time. The electorate can decide whether the government treated the Heathcote Road with the respect local motorists deserve. 

The electorate can also remind itself what the previous Labor governments have done or not done in office over the years.

It is time to draw a line in the sand. All candidates in the seat of Heathcote, including independents, need to outline what they intend to do about the Heathcote Road, from the Princes Highway to Liverpool, should they win office. 

Band-Aid solutions are not enough. It is cruel that in the last year or so amongst all the accidents emergency services have been called to they have had to respond to two of their own – a fire officer and a police officer.

We all know that people need to drive more carefully. Great. Let’s continue the education but in the meantime barriers need to be installed along Heathcote Road to stop vehicles running headlong into innocent people.

Patrick Kennedy, Heathcote 

From 1969, I spent over 30 years as a Highway Patrol operative, Traffic Sergeant and Traffic  Commander in the St.George Sutherland Police District. 

During that time, I attended and investigated numerous fatal crashes on the Heathcote Road involving several deaths.

I became extremely complacent concerning the inaction which resulted from the then RTA, Sutherland Council Traffic Committee and the local State MP relative to the road improvement recommendations which I had formally submitted for this road. 

Despite the recommendations, the death toll on Heathcote Road continues to rise and not much has been done to rectify this.

The notorious Woronora River Bridge is a perfect example. 

The approaches to the bridge are not aligned with the road surface on the bridge. This tends to cause the steering of a vehicle travelling east onto the bridge, to veer right.

Numerous serious and fatal crashes have occurred on this narrow two lane bridge. 

Excessive speed is also a contributing factor at this location.

I was more than surprised when a speed camera was installed a considerable distance away from the bridge near Forum Drive which has a minimal crash history instead of installing the cameras on the eastern approaches of the Woronora River Bridge. 

Excessive speed has always been a problem on Heathcote Road between Sandy Point and Lucas Heights. 

In 1972, while manning a radar instrument on the Heathcote Road, Lucas Heights, I arrested a driver travelling at 185 miles per hour which is almost 300km/h. 

These fatal crashes will continue unless substantial funds are made available for engineering, infrastructure, technology and enforcement to make this road safer.

Barry Hayston