Roads and Maritime Services reduce Oxley Highway speed limit

Go slow: A section of the Oxley Highway which will now be speed limited to 80km per hour. The changes will be implemented before Christmas.Photo: Nigel Fuller
Go slow: A section of the Oxley Highway which will now be speed limited to 80km per hour. The changes will be implemented before Christmas.Photo: Nigel Fuller

During a meeting with stakeholders in Wauchope on Monday, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) announced they will reduce the speed limits on a stretch of the Oxley Highway between Walcha and Wauchope.

Changes were proposed late last year and public meetings and a public protest rally at Gingers Creek of more than 1,000 motorcyclists followed.

The RMS said a review of five years of crash data has resulted in the NSW Government investing in a package of work to improve road user safety on a 44 kilometre section of the Oxley Highway. A new 80 km/h speed limit will be implemented, signage installed and protection barriers upgraded in response to a high crash rate on the highway west of Wauchope. 

“Speed has been a major contributor to the number and severity of crashes on the highway between Long Flat and Walcha,” the RMS spokesperson said. 

“As a result of the review in collaboration with the Centre for Road Safety, the speed limit will be lowered from 100 km/h to 80 km/h for what is the most mountainous section. The aim of the changes is to keep cars on the road, cyclists on their bikes and create a safer environment for motorcyclists.” 

The spokesperson said the speed limit reduction will only add a few minutes at most to travel times between Wauchope and Walcha. 

“A few extra minutes can save lives.  In the five years to 2016 there were 67 crashes on this section of highway, five of which were fatal, with another 23 people seriously injured.

“Speed monitoring on this section of highway found most cars were already traveling at 80 km/h or below.

“All road users share a responsibility to ensure safer journeys for the thousands of motorists who use the Oxley Highway between Long Flat and Walcha every year.

“Improvements are expected to begin in coming months and the community will be kept informed.” 

Motorcyclist Ken Healey from Save the Oxley Highway had a meeting with Roads Minister Melinda Pavey and was disappointed.

“It’s going to be an 80k zone before Christmas, pretty well all of the mountain.  We tried to get them to compromise at 90.  There’s only been six deaths since 2011 – that’s only one a year,” he said.

“On the long straight sections, there are going to be double white lines so you won’t be able to overtake, so people are going to get frustrated and people are going to get cheesed off.  The Oxley Highway will become a frustrating road to ride or drive.”

More information on the speed zone review can be found on the RMS website here