Kings Highway - A Case for Urgent Upgrading of the Kings Highway

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					                      A Case for Urgent Upgrading of the Kings Highway (Draft)


The Kings Highway (Main Road 51) is one of only two transport links into and out of our Shire, the
other being the Princes Highway (SH1). This road is a State asset under the control of the NSW Roads
& Traffic Authority.

Eurobodalla community is one of the fastest growing areas within the State with a growth rate about
50% higher than the State average (ABS Census 2006).

Eurobodalla Shire includes the main towns of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma with numerous
additional small villages nestled along our 110km of coastline. The Shire provides a recreational
retreat for many including those from Canberra, Braidwood, Bungendore and the rural west.
Tourism is our primary industry and vitally important to our economy bringing in $360M each year.

The Kings Highway also provides an alternate route to Sydney via Goulburn & the Hume Highway.
This route is becoming increasingly important to our Shire due to the many constraints along the
Princes Highway and the provision of major transport links and facilities in western Sydney. The
importance of the Kings Highway to Goulburn route will increase further with the proposed
industrial park/transport hub at Goulburn (which we support and welcome in our region).

With no rail service and only limited air transport, our community’s well being and transport needs
depend on the Kings Highway. It is strategically a very important piece of infrastructure to our
economy and our community.


Traffic on the Kings Highway will continue to increase significantly (from over 2500vpd to over
3500vpd from 1996-2006). By 2020 this figure can be expected to exceed 5500vpd meaning we must
act now if we are to meet current and future demands (refer Appendix A for traffic figures).

Notable elements of the traffic flow include:

    •     High tidal flows of traffic on a Friday evening (eastbound) and Sunday afternoon
          (westbound) creating weekly peak traffic volumes about 3.0-3.5 times the normal peak daily
    •     Much higher traffic flows at holiday periods including school holidays, Easter & Christmas
    •     12.5% heavy vehicles east bound and 9% heavy vehicles west bound
    •     3.6% eastbound 2.8% west bound car and trailer combinations representing boating and

These variable and high traffic flows create additional congestion and frustration due to a lack of
overtaking opportunities.
Network Deficiencies

Much of the Kings Highway remains well below acceptable and even basic road needs. The road
deficiencies include:

    •   Lane widths that are too narrow with some only 2.8m wide (when the minimum should be
    •   A lack of appropriate lane widening through curves compounding the lack of shoulders and
        poor road alignment (some lane widths through curves are as little as 2.8m wide when they
        should be 3.7m wide).
    •   Sections of very poor road alignment
    •   Many roadside hazards (e.g. culvert headwalls, inadequate shoulders/verges, unprotected
        drop-offs, large trees)
    •   Lack of safety barriers
    •   Lack of delineation and road markings
    •   A lack of overtaking lanes leading to inefficient movement of goods and people as well as
        heightening driver frustration and increasing risk taking behavior
    •   Lack of break down and pull off areas increasing risk to the public and maintenance workers
    •   Sections with speed limits set artificially low due to the above, reducing transport efficiency
        and increasing the cost of goods to/from our Shire

The lack of overtaking opportunities is made more critical by the otherwise limited passing areas
along this section of the Kings Highway.

Accident Record

All of the physical road features combined with the nature of traffic flows increase the risk to the
public safety and translate into a highway with one of the poorest safety records in the State. In the
period from 1996-2006, the 37km section of the Kings Highway from the top of the Clyde Mountain
to Batemans Bay 495 road accidents with 13 people losing their lives and over 300 people seriously
injured with devastating impacts on many families and their communities. 40% of these accidents
involved people from our own Shire.

The economic cost of these accidents alone to the community is over $75M (in 2008 dollars).

Despite this, the last major realignment works undertaken to address these issues was in 1996, over
12 years ago!
A Strategy to Move Forward

We cannot sit idly by and allow this to continue. Urgent action is required now. This action must
align to a clear strategy for the Kings Highway route.

Eurobodalla Council has therefore identified a number of key projects within this section of highway
which need urgent upgrading. These include:

    i)    Main Road 51 – Top of Clyde to Northangera Creek bridge – Road Widening, Realignment
          and Provision of East and West Overtaking Lanes
    ii) Main Road 51 East Nelligen – Road Realignment & Widening
    iii) Main Road 51 Misty Mountain – Road Realignment & East Bound Overtaking Lane
    iv) Main Road 51 – Western Distributer to Dinner Creek – Road Realignment
    v) Main Road 51 – Nelligen to Nelligen Creek Bridge – Establishment of Future Alignment and
          Land Acquisition
    vi) Main Road 51 – Black Flat Overtaking Lane to Allards Lane - Establishment of Future
          Alignment and Land Acquisition
    vii) Main Road 51 – Black Flat Overtaking Lane West – Road Widening, Sealing of Shoulders and
          Minor Realignment
    viii) Main Road 51 – Clyde Mountain – On-going Geotechnical Assessment and Upgrades to

Of these, the section from the top of the Clyde Mountain to Northangera Creek (within Palerang
Shire) could be targeted for immediate action. The road alignment is reasonable. However, the
narrow lanes widths, lack of lane widening on curves and sealed shoulders, high number of roadside
hazards, lack of guardrail, limited delineation and lack of appropriate east and west bound
overtaking lanes make this section of road hazardous. With appropriate upgrading the 90km/hr
speed zone could also be lifted which along with the provision overtaking lanes would improve
transport efficiency, reducing transport costs and greatly improving road safety.

Similarly, our engineers have already designed the section of the Kings Highway east of Nelligen) and
this project could be constructed using our crews or by contract if funds were made available. The
preliminary estimate of cost for this work is $3.5M.

Misty Mountain overtaking lane is also a key project. This project covers 2.8km of the road and is
estimated at about $4.5M (although it could be staged) and would:

    •    remove tight curves with sub-standard lane widths
    •    provide a good eastbound overtaking lane opportunity
    •    provide the opportunity to close the short eastbound overtaking lane at the bottom of the
         Clyde Mountain, reducing speeds into the tight Leachey Flat bends, and providing an
         increase in the length of west bound overtaking
    •    reduce the pressure for overtaking at Cabbage Tree Creek, potentially reducing accidents at
         this location
    •    providing significant economic benefit through savings in travel length and time
Bosley’s segment 110

Curve realignment


A clear strategy with adequate funding is needed urgently to address the existing shortcomings on
the Kings Highway and provide for future growth expected on this road.

We urge the State government to act as a matter of urgency to put this strategy in place and provide
a minimum of $10M per year over each of the next five years to assist to upgrade the first 50km of
the highway from Batemans Bay to an appropriate standard.

We also recommend that the State pursue Federal government ‘black spot’ and Strategic Regional
Auslink funding to add further improvements to this critical piece of infrastructure.

The graph below shows the measured traffic west of Nelligen township, as measured by the NSW
Roads & Traffic Authority during the period 1996-2006. The figures have been projected through to
2020 utilising an average traffic growth, by which time traffic can be expected to have reached over
5,500 vpd.

                          Graph One – Average Annual Daily Traffic (vpd)

Analysis of the types of vehicles using the Kings Highway indicated heavy vehicles made up 12.5% of
east bound traffic and 9% of west bound vehicles with the majority of these being single trucks and
articulated semi-trailers.

The graphs below highlight the highly variable nature of traffic due to weekly movements to & from
the coast from Queanbeyan, Canberra, Bungendore, Goulburn and other western regions. This
traffic creates high peak volumes with a strong demand for extra overtaking opportunities.

The figures shown here for eastbound traffic highlight the significant traffic movements on Friday
evenings and Saturday mornings to the coast.
        Graph Two – 2008 Hourly Traffic (eastbound, mid-winter, non-school holiday)

Graph Three – 2008 Hourly Traffic Counts (westbound, mid-winter, non-school holiday period)

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