A backlash from motorists has seen a large number of 80 km/h speed signs knocked over along Sutton Road after the speed limit was reduced from 100 km/h by Transport for NSW in September last year.
One motorist who regularly uses Sutton Road, a popular stretch of road between Queanbeyan and the Federal Highway, estimated that more than 80 per cent of the 80 km/h speed signs had been knocked over in the last couple of weeks.
It is unknown who will foot the repair bill to fix the signs since Sutton Road traverses three government areas under the jurisdictions of Queanbeyan-Palerang, the ACT and Yass Valley.
The speed zone was reduced from 100 km/h to 80 km/h by Transport for NSW in September following community concerns and a high casualty rate. The 80 km/h zone extends from Guise Street at Sutton to 300 metres south of the Norton Road turnoff to Wamboin.
A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said it was understandable some members of the community may be impacted by the permanent changes, but the speed reduction would only add about 90 seconds to travel times.
“It is worth noting that journey times are not expected to be substantially greater, with an increase of one minute and 34 seconds travel time through the new 80km/h zone, as motorists will be able to travel at a speed more consistent with the surrounding environment,” the spokesperson said.
Queanbeyan resident Zac Hay uses Sutton Road daily while working in Goulburn and said he was very surprised to see that so many of the speed signs had been knocked down.
“I’m not one to argue about the speed limit on the road because of the number of fatalities and crashes, but I noticed in the last couple of weeks the speed signs have been getting knocked down one by one,” Mr Hay told Region Media.
He also posted his image of the speed signs on the Queanbeyan Notice Board on Facebook, which generated a raft of comments from people saying the reduced speed was unnecessary.
“Thought maybe that the wet weather had loosened them. Glad they got knocked down. Bloody ridiculous, the road is easily a 100 zone,” said one commenter.
“If people stopped crashing at 100 it might have stayed at 100,” countered another.
A spokesperson for Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council also said they had received several complaints regarding the speed limit decrease on Sutton Road, despite not being responsible for the change.
Transport for NSW said it conducted a comprehensive review of the speed zone on Sutton Road from Sutton to the ACT border in accordance with the NSW Speed Zoning Guidelines.
The review recommended reducing the 100 km/h speed zone to 80 km/h due to factors including concerns raised by the community, road function, roadside environment and crash history which was well above the typical rate in the speed zone guidelines.
“Along this length of Sutton Road, 22 crashes were recorded during the latest five years of validated crash data (1 October 2013 to 30 September 2018). These crashes resulted in two fatalities and 14 people injured,” the Transport for NSW spokesperson said.
A further two years of more recent data showed five additional crashes had occurred, resulting in three fatalities and three injuries along Sutton Road.
Road safety and the reduction of fatal and serious injury crashes was fundamental to Transport’s decision-making process when undertaking the review.
Flexible road safety barriers were also installed on Sutton Road in March last year, while further safety upgrades, including shoulder widening and vehicle activated signage, have also been completed.
“I understand both sides of the story here,” Mr Hay said. “It’s annoying to have the speed limit drop, but you can’t argue with the fact that safety is a greater concern.”