Human experience speaks louder than money. Take Susan Loch, whose daughter Jess died seven years ago in a single vehicle accident on the Princes Highway near Wandandian. Her story is resonating from the grassroots to the highest office in the land.
On Monday, she spoke to the Ulladulla & Districts Community Forum about the FIX IT NOW campaign. As she talked about the shock and the grief that followed, she had the audience fully engaged. And when, momentarily, her voice quavered with emotion, she was soothed with the words, “It’s all right, you’re with friends here.”
In the context of a meeting in which there was some disagreement over particular issues, on FIX IT NOW, the support was unanimous. Susan’s story helped convince the audience the campaign to have the Princes Highway upgraded was worth supporting. She had won over the grassroots.
Last Thursday, a copy of her story that was published up and down the coast was presented – among many other articles about the FIX IT NOW campaign – to the Prime Minister. Mr Turnbull was in Nowra to announce funding for a new bridge across the Shoalhaven River but he made time to be briefed on the campaign to have the highway made safer.
FIX IT NOW also caught the attention of the NRMA, which issued a statement supporting the campaign.
The peak motoring body conducted a physical audit of the highway south of Nowra in 2015 and concluded back then it was in urgent need of safety upgrades. Numerous surveys of motorists indicate it’s regarded as one of the four worst roads in NSW.
This attention and support is down to people like Susan, who have courageously added their voices to the call for action.
Now, it’s your turn to speak up.
As we enter the next phase of the campaign, we need to identify the priorities for safety upgrades. Many people have identified the Condies Creek bridge at Wandandian as a dangerous pinch point. One attendee at the forum meeting suggested the Lemon Tree Creek bridge south of Lake Tabourie was perilous, especially when heavy trucks arrive on it at the same time.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on highway black spots. Which ones worry you? Which ones need fixing right away?
We invite letters to the editor but, more importantly, we urge you to write to your state and federal MPs and let them know too. Tell them to FIX IT NOW.