Dashcam footage Deep Creek Rd

Fears shortcut could lead to the worst

RESIDENTS are collecting data via dashcam and compiling a petition to demand authorities take action on a rural road before tragedy strikes.

Hundreds of jail and highway workers commute daily along Deep Creek Road, which was never designed to handle a high volume of through traffic.

Two occupants were 'lucky to be alive' when a railing speared through the front windshield when their car ran off the road at about 5.45am on Tuesday in the latest in a string of incidents in the area.

"They are so lucky to be alive," one nearby resident said.

 

Several crashes have been reported along Deep Creek Rd and Avenue Rd near Ulmarra since the roads have been used as a shortcut for workers at the Clarence Correctional Centre site.
Several crashes have been reported along Deep Creek Rd and Avenue Rd near Ulmarra since the roads have been used as a shortcut for workers at the Clarence Correctional Centre site. Contributed

"It would've been between 5.30am and 5.45am. He didn't take the corner, he went straight ahead and into the yard.

"Hundreds of cars go along this road every day. It's utterly ridiculous. The fog, you can't see anything, and they still speed. It's awful

"We're getting a petition together. We want them off our road. It's not a highway, it's a little back road."

Another resident said she put a dashcam in her car to monitor the increased traffic movements.

One morning on her way to work she passed 75 cars along the stretch from her place to Ulmarra, which is normally an eight-minute drive.

 

A car crashed into a ditch near where children wait for a school bus on Deep Creek Rd near Ulmarra.
A car crashed into a ditch near where children wait for a school bus on Deep Creek Rd near Ulmarra.

"I drive to work between 6am and 6.30am and there's usually 50 to 75 cars.

"In the morning they start from about five o'clock and go til about 7.30am. In the afternoon it's anywhere from two o'clock to six o'clock. I think they go faster in the afternoon because there's no fog or anything."

She also said the deterioration of the road surface resulted in ongoing damage to cars who use the road.

"I got a second hand car almost 12 months ago because my car was getting stone chips and broken windsceens," she said.

 

Several crashes have been reported along Deep Creek Rd and Avenue Rd near Ulmarra since the roads have been used as a shortcut for workers at the Clarence Correctional Centre site.
Several crashes have been reported along Deep Creek Rd and Avenue Rd near Ulmarra since the roads have been used as a shortcut for workers at the Clarence Correctional Centre site. Contributed

Deep Creek Rd is only four metres wide and cars must move off the road in order to pass. The road surface has deteriorated without any recent repairs.

Clarence Valley Council civil services manager Tim Jenkins said council was well aware of the increased traffic on Deep Creek Road as a result of the highway and jail construction works.

"This traffic is putting pressure on the road and on road users, particularly the local community,"Mr Jenkins said.

"It is a narrow, local road and was never intended to carry the traffic it is getting now, which includes construction traffic. These are damaging the road shoulders and pavement.

"We've got traffic counters out there now and are collecting data on usage, and we're hoping to use that data in negotiations with the jail and highway developers for repairs to be done."

Raymond Clarke lives adjacent to the jail on Avenue Rd, which also forms part of the shortcut workers travelling from the north take to drive to the Clarence Correctional Centre site.

He said he was surprised there had not been a head-on collision.

"You can't really blame the guys trying to drive to the work site," Mr Clarke said.

"But it needs road signs for sure. There's a nice painted line and an 80kph sign, but once you get to the end it's a free for all. There are two crests and I'm surprised that somebody hasn't had a head on."



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