During April we took a drive out to Wooli, NSW on the beautiful Far North Coast. The Coastal Emu is listed as an Endangered Species.
This area, to the East of Grafton, is the largest remaining unspoilt coast landmass on the North Coast, however the new Pacific Hwy upgrade will see this area become fragmented like much of the coastal strip between Sydney and Brisbane.
The highway upgrade is needed now as this is also an area of high human road fatalities. However the NSW RTA spends a good deal of funding and time working on Environmental Impacts in areas of high conservation value.
Rather interesting is that the money over many years could have created a better highway long ago without the underlying controversy of a totally new highway in these previously/relatively unspoilt or regenerated areas. Often city people have brought their retirement land/homes in these quiet locations for when their working life is over.
Instead we have a highway that is constantly in need of repair and where when it rains heavily, as it does here and often, we can not see the road in front of us on which we are driving. Coming towards you in these conditions are multiple B Doubles in a convoy at more than 100km’s per hour, with no dividing of the roads and just a single lane in both directions. Generally, there are also multiple pot holes, filled with water once it rains, which as explained you wont see until you hit them.
This is insanity at its best. Unfair to the road user, unfair to the truck drivers who are just doing their jobs, unfair to the police, ses and ambulance services who have to pick the human remains up of the road.
It’s also unfair to the coastal emus which could become extinct when the highway is built through their habitat but for now this one is happy to use the road with other users even though they are in cars, which highlights the plight of the emu and makes it obvious to see that this majestic creature would be in much more danger with an increase of traffic in the home range for the species.
I ask myself “how hard is it to build a highway?” Incidently the companies building the highway are European and I wonder if they would take so long overseas to build decent roads that save lives and also consider maintaining the natural environment to create a balance for man and nature. When I think about the German autobarn I once travelled along, I find the differences in thought and innovation between our two countries to leave Australia sadly lagging behind.