COMMENT

Tis the season for traffic and frayed tempers

Trouble is coming to paradise. Yes, the October long weekend is upon us, coinciding with school holidays and the end of the ski season. And with that, the customary traffic jams and frustration among locals when the time taken to run normal errands blows out as the roads fill to bursting point with holiday makers.

Already, we are being warned to expect delays at the main South Coast pinch points. Getting through Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma and key Princes Highway intersections will test the patience of saints. The danger is that impatience and anger lead to impulse and impulse on the road can have deadly or life-shattering consequences.

The temptation to pull out across the highway when you've been waiting for what seems like an eternity gets harder to resist when you sense the frustration of motorists caught in the same queue behind you. But resist we must if crashes are to be avoided.

With the South Coast becoming ever more popular - helped by the weak Aussie dollar and our increasing proximity to Sydney, thanks to the highway upgrades north of Nowra - we should brace ourselves for even more traffic. And we should be putting the screws on the federal and state governments to speed up the process of upgrading the highway south of Jervis Bay Road.

Although we have repeatedly asked for it, we are yet to see a timeline for work to duplicate the highway between Jervis Bay Road and the border, fixing many intersections in between. The long-suffering residents of Moruya, whose town become a car park at peak holiday times, are understandably sceptical about promises for a Moruya bypass, despite the 11th hour pre-election promise to fund it by the Coalition state government.

With the economy in the slow lane and interest rates at rock bottom, there is a renewed urgency to getting the promised infrastructure rolling. It's one lever left for the government to stimulate growth. The Reserve Bank has been clamouring for it but the government seems more intent on delivering a surplus than avoiding a slide into recession.

So there's a lot more to be annoyed about than being inconvenienced by holiday traffic - although that is bad enough.

We need those visitors to keep our local economy ticking over but we also need to be able to go about our normal lives without too much disruption when they're here. For that we need our highway upgrade.

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