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Ulmarra man pleads with authorities to make road safer

Towing operators and power workers start to lift a truck from the Pacific Highway at Ulmarra on Saturday morning.
Towing operators and power workers start to lift a truck from the Pacific Highway at Ulmarra on Saturday morning. Adam Hourigan

THE thunderous sound which woke Ulmarra man Ryan Brown early on Saturday morning was unmistakeable.

It was a sound he has come to dread since a Coastline truck crashed through his back fence in a truck rollover five years ago, but it also meant that when a B-double collided with a telephone pole and rolled over on Saturday morning about 15 metres from his house on the Pacific Hwy, he knew what to do.

"As soon as you could hear the thud coming I knew exactly what it was," Mr Brown said.

"By the time I got there there were three or four people standing around not knowing what to do, trying to smash the windscreen while [the driver] tried to kick it out.

"I jumped straight up and pulled him out, then made him a cuppa and calmed him down. He was very, very lucky he had no cuts."

It is the second time Mr Brown, a truck driver himself, has had to pull a driver out of a truck cab near his home, and he has decided he wants it to be the last. "I don't want it to happen three times in a row and definitely not with someone who's half dead," he said.

The weekend's crash was likely caused by fatigue rather than speed, but the Ulmarra resident said it was not uncommon to hear trucks "screaming" through the historic village at 2am as they travel north.

The area's crash history doesn't bode well either.

This April a motorcyclist was left in a serious condition after colliding with a car in the village, and at the same time last year a car took out the same power pole as the one felled in Saturday's crash.

Almost exactly one year earlier in April 2013, a man died in a head-on collision with a B-Double nearby.

June 20, 2010, saw a car was almost torn in half when it collided with a truck, just 10 days before the crash which landed the Coastline truck in Mr Brown's backyard, and in December 2008, a Nissan Patrol rolled while travelling north through Ulmarra, resulting in the death of a 19-year-old woman.

There is consolation in the fact Ulmarra will be bypassed by the new Pacific Hwy in a few years, but until then Mr Brown wants one of three things to help keep resident and drivers safer: a permanent speed camera; an LED sign to let people know when they are speeding; or for the area's 50kmh speed limit to be extended further south.

While he acknowledged there would be complaints about extending the 50kmh zone, he noted he has seen a difference when the speed limit was reduced at Tyndale after The Daily Examiner and residents campaign to reduce the road toll last year.

"Something really has to be done and I'm not going to stop this time until it is," he said. "Five grand for a sign is pretty cheap when I've got three daughters and my wife there.

"It's not just me etiher; several locals that showed up have absolutely had a gutful. They're sick of it happening in their backyard."

Topics:  collision highway pacific



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