Fatalities a tragic reminder
IT HAPPENS with almost unerring regularity.
The busy holiday period starts, and the SES sirens whizzing past our office become a familiar, yet chilling reminder of the tragic reality on our roads.
We were busy putting the finishing touches on Tuesday's edition when the alarm was first raised that a head-on collision had closed the Pacific Highway south of Maclean.
The instincts kick in and members of the newsroom set about doing what needs to be done - informing the public of the situation. Dread always lingers.
Predictably, it's a fatality... a double fatality. Another person is in a critical condition.
We keep our fingers crossed it's no one local... it's a local couple. Not again.
Every holiday period, when the traffic ramps up and margins for error dwindle, there are multiple serious crashes on the highway between Ulmarra and Maclean.
Ever since the tragic Cowper bus tragedy in 1989, it has continued to be a notorious stretch of single-lane highway.
Cowper and the Kempsey bus crash two months later initially prompted the Pacific Highway upgrade. But we've waited, and waited, and waited, and by 2020, more than 30 years since the bus tragedies, the days of grisly head on collisions in our backyard may finally become a thing of the past, as commuters blissfully glide by on a four-lane super highway.