Barton strategy offers improvements but duplication slated to 2038

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BARTON: Residents who were expecting the Barton Highway Draft Improvement Strategy to outline details and timelines for its duplication have been sorely disappointed.

The strategy does not address the duplication as it wasn’t part of its mandate. As stated in the terms of reference, funding for the full duplication is unlikely until 2038. Therefore, the project team was asked to make recommendations for safety, efficiency and sustainability improvements to the highway – in lieu of the duplication.

It was asked to make short term (0-5 years), medium term (5-10 years) and long term (10+ years) recommendations.

The strategy was prepared in partnership between the Australian and NSW Governments, which jointly funded its $300,000 price tag.

Federal Member for Hume, Angus Taylor, welcomed the strategy. He said it had included months of consultation with stakeholders, including community members.

Federal Hume MP Angus Taylor

Federal Hume MP Angus Taylor

“It gives us the hard facts we need to get action on the Barton. The focus now is getting on with building the recommended new overtaking lanes towards staged duplication,” Mr Taylor said.

Some 446 responses from the community were received, with the strategy reporting the key community consultation outcomes were:

  • Travelling on the Barton Highway is often described as stressful, particularly at peak times
  • The values of most importance to the community and stakeholders were improving road safety, reducing the number of crashes and reducing traffic delays
  • The section of road from Murrumbateman to Mundays Lane was where the greatest number of issues were reported
  • Sections between Murrumbateman to Euroka Avenue and from Nanima Road to the ACT border were most frequently identified as needing improvement
  • The three issues most commonly reported by the community and stakeholders were poor driver behaviour, lack of overtaking opportunities and difficult access to or exit from intersections

Short term recommendations of the strategy include:

  • Intersection improvements, general delineation and line marking upgrades, and widening of lanes and road shoulders (including removing hazards from clear zones)
  • Provide additional overtaking lanes, particularly between Murrumbateman and the ACT border
  • Investigate options to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders crossing the Highway at Murrumbateman
  • Using Intelligent Transport Systems (such as variable message signs, closed circuit television cameras and real time traffic monitoring devices) to provide real time travel information at key locations along the highway
  • Improvements to the road alignment between Vallencia Drive and Gooda Creek Road to address deficiencies in the horizontal curve alignment and roadside hazards
  • Start early planning to investigate a Murrumbateman bypass to separate local and through traffic and reduce conflict with vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

The strategy states that “Improvement projects will be carried out as funding becomes available”.

Crash statistics double those of similar roads

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward said traffic data collected for the strategy clearly showed traffic volumes through Murrumbateman village and south of Murrumbateman were between 11,000 and 12,000 vehicles per day.

Goulburn MP Pru Goward

Goulburn MP Pru Goward

“The strategy shows the average casualty crash rate over the whole Barton Highway between 2009 and 2013 was 0.37 crashes per kilometre, which is about double the average crash rate of 0.195 for similarly rated 4R rural roads.

“It’s also considerably higher than the NSW average. Now we need to take up the priorities identified in the strategy to start making the road a lot safer,” she said.

In a critical Letter to the Editor, Bec Duncan said she and other residents were at “breaking point” over the Barton Highway.

“Most workers in Australia expect to get home to their families every day. For me and other commuters on the Barton, that is not a foregone conclusion. I’m about to hit the road again from the City to home, in the wet, on dark. My husband and three little girls are waiting for me,” Ms Duncan wrote.

The feedback period for the draft strategy is now closed. Feedback received will be reviewed and incorporated into the final strategy when it is published (date to be advised).

To download the draft strategy visit

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