A STRETCH of the Sturt Highway from Wagga to Narrandera has been rated the safest arterial in New South Wales, boasting the fourth lowest crash risk in Australia.
The single-lane 90-kilometre stretch of highway accommodates an average of 7100 vehicles per day, but has only seen four deaths and 28 smashes over four years.
It leads three other highway stretches in the region that have ranked inside the state’s top 10 “best” motorways, according to the Australian Roads Assessment Report, released on Wednesday.
An analysis of almost 21,000 kilometres of the National Highway Network also highlighted the Hume Highway at Tarcutta and the Sturt Highway connection from the Hume to Wagga as two other low-risk roads.
However, a seasoned Riverina truckie has slammed the brakes on the report, claiming roads with a low number of crashes are often in the worst condition.
Freight driver Dean Cunningham described the Sturt Highway stretch as inconsistent, poorly maintained and dangerous.
“The only reason there’s barely any crashes on there is because people can see how shocking the road is and they cut about 30 km/h off their speedo,” he said.
“I think it’s the kind of thing where the better maintained a road is, the more hoons think they can speed and take corners sharp.
“Clearly the road just scares people too much for them to take any risks.”
The only reason there’s barely any crashes on there is because people can see how shocking the road is.- Truckie Dean Cunningham
NRMA director Fiona Simson said the findings reflected well on the driving of local motorists, but they still evoked some unease.
“It was obviously pleasing that western NSW featured so prominently in the list of our state’s safest highways,” she said. “However, 10 people lost their lives on those roads during the period of the report.
“The link between the road toll and the quality of the roads we drive on is indisputable.” It comes amid an alarming increase in fatal car crashes on Riverina roads.