Urgent Safety Upgrades Required on the Tumbarumba Road

Urgent Safety Upgrades Required on the Tumbarumba Road

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Jess Barron started this petition to Dr. Joe McGirr, MP (Member for Wagga Wagga) and

To Whom It May Concern,


I am writing to you on behalf of my family to request your support in lobbying for safety upgrades to be made to the Tumbarumba Road. While I myself am from Wagga Wagga and am thus referring to that side of the road, anecdotal evidence suggests that similar upgrades may be required on the Batlow side as well.


I, along with many people from the Wagga Wagga area, have a substantial history with the road. Much of my extended family lives in Tumbarumba and so, growing up, my family would make the drive between the two towns every weekend. When I was four years old, it was on this road that my uncle, Jodie Bramich, was tragically killed in 2005. As we grew older, my younger siblings and I all went on to learn how to drive on that road. We discovered that the trip was a good way to fill log book hours, and that driving past that large wooden cross on the side of the road was a good reminder to drive safely. 


At the end of May last year I received a call to say that another of my uncles, Shaun Bramich, had been killed in yet another car accident on the Tumbarumba Road. Another cross was put up. The similarities between the two incidents were eerie. Both were killed when their cars veered off the exact same road and both incidents, I believe, could have been mitigated had proper safety infrastructure been present on the road.


We have always known that the road wasn’t the safest, with many sharp turns, a lack of guard rails, steep hills, and potholes, however over time my family along with others in the area had simply learned to live with it. The number of dead kangaroos and wombats littering the sides of this road only serves to indicate how many cars have collided with wildlife on this stretch of road. Both my uncles were experienced country drivers, with a sound familiarity with this road. With increased interest in country areas and events, such as Tumbarumba with its annual rodeo and Tumbafest, many visiting drivers inexperienced on country roads are being put at risk. If even experienced local drivers such as my uncles are falling victim to this road, surely we should be doing all we can to minimise the dangers present?


Since my Uncle Shaun’s death, I have done some research into the road. According to an article written by Annie Lewis and published in the Daily Advertiser immediately following the incident last year, there were 36 separate crashes reported on the Tumbarumba Road in the five years ending in 2019. This figure is outrageous. Given the sheer number of people who use the road to commute between Tumbarumba and Wagga Wagga, as well as other surrounding areas on a daily basis, I cannot understand why substantial upgrades have not been made to the road. It is known that many areas of the road have deteriorated to such a level that the edges of the road are completely gone, without a lane marker in sight. Many sharp corners lack adequate sign posting, there are sections where the surface is more pothole than road, and the presence of both livestock and wild animals on the road makes the journey entirely unsafe. The steep drops which border much of the road are of particular concern, given the manner of my Uncle Jodie’s death. It was my Uncle Shaun who discovered the wreckage some time after the crash, as the conditions made it almost impossible to see the vehicle from the road. This in conjunction with the dismal phone coverage which is notorious on this road meant that there was little to no chance of survival. This should not be the case.


I understand that Transport for NSW appears to have installed rumble strips on some small sections of the road recently. While this is certainly better than nothing, I must implore that something more be done. The road simply isn’t wide enough and the bush is too close to the lanes for this measure to be effective. Rather, I would like to request that flexible crash barriers be installed on the road. I strongly believe that while they may not necessarily have saved my uncles’ lives, they surely would have lessened the severity of the crashes and I am certain that they could help to save lives in the future. 


Many other governments around the world, including in Victoria, have begun implementing flexible barriers on a massive scale. A report published by the Monash University Accident Research Centre in 2009 found that they eliminated 80-90% of fatal and serious crashes, both of the head-on and run-off varieties, on the studied Victorian roads. Given that the vast majority of incidents on the Tumbarumba Road appear to occur when a vehicle runs off the road, this technology could have the ability to massively improve safety on this road.


I understand that such upgrades would likely cost the government a great deal, but would it not be worth it if it could save just one life? An entire town should not have to put their lives at risk every time they commute just because they live in what politicians believe to be a ‘safe seat’. Please help me in fighting for the necessary infrastructure spending to save lives on the Tumbarumba Road.


Thank you for your time,

Jessica Barron

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!