EDITORIAL: The "notorious" Monaro Highway

The horrific car crash at the weekend, almost on the outskirts of Cooma, is a chilling reminder of the deadly cost of the ski season and the inadequate roads that service our region.

One major television news service described it as the "notorious" Monaro Highway. It carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles through our region each year, perhaps even millions, towards one of the state's major tourist areas.

It takes an enormous number of holidaymakers to the south coast, particularly from Canberra, and is also a major feeder road into our nation's capital.

And yet it is essentially a two-lane country road with a few overtaking lanes dotted along its length. For the amount of traffic it takes, and its importance to the region's economy, this is simply not good enough. Like any road, if you are a local and know its twists and turns, the good spots and the dangerous areas, you may drive along it with a reasonable amount of confidence.

But with the overwhelming majority of accidents involving non-locals it raises questions, not the least of which is the adequacy of the road itself, when there are so many people driving on it that are unfamiliar and perhaps not driving to the conditions.

The police, it must be said, are doing all they can, with increased patrols and a greater presence, particularly around areas like Bredbo, which was the scene of a number of serious accidents including fatalities in recent years. The Monaro Highway should be upgraded along its length and converted into a divided highway, and only then will drivers and their passengers enjoy the safety they deserve.

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