#SurviveTheDrive: Mitchell Highway is one of the most dangerous roads in NSW

Emergency services are used to being called to jobs on the Mitchell Highway, with dozens of serious crashes every year. Photo: FILE
Emergency services are used to being called to jobs on the Mitchell Highway, with dozens of serious crashes every year. Photo: FILE

The Mitchell Highway is one of the deadliest roads in Western NSW, claiming 27 lives in the last six years.

In 2017 alone, eight people have died on the 373-kilometre stretch of road between Bathurst and Nyngan.

The Mitchell has been named one of the most dangerous roads in NSW, with some sections identified in a report by the Australian Automobile Association as being in the top 10.

The Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) found the sections between Orange and Wellington and Wellington to Dubbo were considered to be high risk, based on the number of crashes compared to the number of cars using the road. The report, released last year, was based on statistics from 2010-2014.

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The 92-kilometre segment between Orange and Wellington has a volume of 2450 vehicles per day, and had 58 collisions involving casualties over four years, including one fatality.

The shorter 40-kilometre section between Wellington and Dubbo also handled 2450 vehicles daily and witnessed 31 casualty crashes and three fatalities.

The Bathurst to Orange section was also rated a medium-high risk, although it had the most fatalities of all with six.

An average of 9150 cars and trucks travelled the road every day and there were 71 serious crashes in the four years.

The Great Western Highway between Bathurst and Lithgow was also rated a medium-high risk with 92 serious crashes and five fatalities on a road that hosts 8200 vehicles a day.

NRMA regional corporate affairs advisor Helen Machalias said the NRMA was concerned by the high death toll on regional roads such as the Mitchell Highway, and said more funding was needed 

“Last year, crashes in country NSW contributed to over 65 per cent of the NSW road toll,” Ms Machalias said.

“The NRMA believes it is imperative that regional roads and highways secure appropriate funding to reduce road deaths and improve travel times.”

“The NRMA’s recent Funding Local Roads report found that Central NSW has an infrastructure backlog of $109 million.

The councils with the biggest backlog of roads repairs according to the NRMA are Blayney, with $25.82 million needed to bring the roads up to a satisfactory standard, followed by Bathurst with $22 million.

Other councils with large backlogs include the Mid-Western Regional Council with $16.93 million, Narromine with $11.98 million, and Dubbo  with $8.73 million.

“A deteriorating road network makes unsafe roads, longer travel times and lost economic productivity. Between 2011-15, fatal crashes cost the Central NSW region $836 million, so increasing local roads funding will have enormous benefits for the entire region,” Ms Machalias said.

“The NRMA will continue to advocate for upgrades to key roads in the region, such as the Mitchell, Newell and Golden Highways, to increase safety, traffic efficiency and freight access.”  

This story Mitchell Highway is one of the most dangerous roads in NSW first appeared on Daily Liberal.