Braidwood Roadside Hazards

Roads and Maritime Services is reviewing two sections of the highway on either side of Braidwood.

Two long lines of trees growing close to both sides of the road, south-east of Braidwood

Project background

Roads and Maritime Services is reviewing two sections of the highway on either side of Braidwood. They are:

  • 3.8km of road east of Monkittee Street, east of Braidwood
  • 1.8km of road between Nerriga Road and Deloraine Lane, north of Braidwood.

A range of road safety hazards have been identified on these lengths of road. Roadside hazards in these areas include:

  • Trees
  • Culverts (drains)
  • Mona Creek, where it is close to the road.
Long, straight stretch of the Kings Highway, showing the trees growing close to the road on both sides, north of Braidwood.

Why is Roads and Maritime looking at improving this section of the Kings Highway?

Between 1 June 2004 and 31 May 2011, there were 17 crashes, including five fatal crashes, on the Kings Highway near Braidwood. The Nerriga Road to Deloraine Lane seven years crash analysis (JPG, 163KB) and the MR51 Kings Highway - 4km east of Braidwood seven years crash analysis (JPG, 141KB) show the location of crashes.

More than half of these crashes involved a collision into roadside objects. In all five fatal crashes a vehicle collided with a tree. Fatigue was a contributing factor in four of the crashes and inappropriate speed in one.

Thirteen of the 17 crashes involved vehicles approaching Braidwood from both sides of town. Drivers involved in the fatal crashes lived in nearby areas including ACT, Goulburn, Queanbeyan, Yass and Braidwood. Twelve of the total recorded crashes involved a single vehicle with the remaining five being rear-end type crashes.

The Kings Highway Route Safety Review identified that 28% of fatal crashes on the Kings Highway occurred immediately either side of Braidwood (in the five years between 2007 and 2011. Study area covered 117 kilometres from just south of Bungendore to immediately north of Batemans Bay).

While the number of crashes is not particularly high, the severity of the crashes was extreme. The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 identifies that the chance of surviving a crash with a tree/pole decreases rapidly above an impact speed of 40km/h. Given the spacing of the trees and the distance from the edge of the road it is unlikely that a vehicle which leaves the road could slow to this speed before hitting a tree.

Community engagement

An online forum was launched in September 2011 to seek the community's feedback about roadside hazards on the Kings Highway. A discussion paper was prepared to provide background information for community consideration and comment.

Several public workshops were held to understand local issues, and to seek ideas on how to reduce the impact of similar crashes that may occur.

Roads and Maritime prepared a preliminary investigations report which can be found on the project documents page.

Reduction of 100km/h speed limit on the Kings Highway

As part of the Kings Highway Route Safety Review (PDF), the Minister for Roads and Ports announced the 100km/h speed limit on the Kings Highway for the full length of both avenues of trees (2.8km east of the existing 50km/h zone and approximately 1.5km on the Canberra side of Braidwood) would be reduced to 80km/h. This has since been carried out.

How does the reduction of speed to 80km/h affect the Braidwood hazards project?

Whilst the speed limit has been lowered, the risk still remains, with any vehicle leaving the road likely to impact a large tree. At 80km/h the likelihood of death or serious injury is still extremely high. An option Roads and Maritime is investigating is the installation of safety barrier fence to prevent vehicles hitting these hazards.

Profile line marking - raised markers indicate the edge of the road as a warning to drivers.

Line marking

Roads and Maritime carried out line marking between Deloraine Lane and 50m north of the entrance to the racecourse (about 900m) and on the eastern side of Braidwood. This line marking will help reduce the occurrence of run-off-road crashes along this section of road.

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