Definitions

Kings Highway

Kings Highway, Australia

The Kings Highway connects Canberra and Batemans Bay. It starts at Capital Hill then via Canberra Avenue, passing through Canberra's suburb of Fyshwick to Queanbeyan and heads south-east to Batemans Bay.

History

The road through the Clyde Mountain area was surveyed by Thomas Mitchell in 1855.

A punt service across the Clyde River was begun at Nelligen in 1895 linking Batemans Bay to Braidwood. The service continued until 1964 when the Nelligen bridge was completed.

In 2006 construction commenced on Headquarters Joint Operations Command between Bungendore and Queanbeyan. The facility is expected to be completed in mid 2008. There is a potential future impact of approximately 800 extra cars a day travelling to the facility form Queanbeyan and Canberra.

Notable Features and Landmarks

A small rock cave at "Pooh Bear's Corner" can be found near the top of the Clyde Mountain pass. This was the location of a munitions store during the Second World War that could be detonated to stop passage from the coast to the national capital inland.

Dozens of soft toys are placed in the eucalyptus trees along the stretch of road that connects Queanbeyan and Bungendore.

Route

It is signed as National Route 52. However, the NSW Road Traffic Authority website refers to it as Main Road number 51, Canberra to Queanbeyan. Main road number 52 is from Canberra to Crookwell. The RTA has come to an informal agreement with councils along the route to sign the entire route as Kings Highway, despite it having no single declared name along its route. The National Route was established in 1974.

The Kings Highway links Highway 1 (Princes Highway) to the capital and links Canberrans to the sea (NSW South Coast beaches). As such, the highway is often busy on weekends, especially during summer. The highway also experiences a high number of car accidents, on occasions averaging around one every three days, costing the local community around the highway several million dollars a year .

Towns passed include Bungendore, Braidwood and Nelligen.

Landscape is generally sheep country. The highway travels from the tablelands to the sea via Clyde Mountain.

Road usage

In the order of 3,000 vehicles a day were using the highway at Nelligen in 2003. From Braidwood (at the Shoalhaven River Bridge) there were about 4,200 cars travelling on the road. Out of Bungendore near Burbong, 5,600 cars were counted each day.

Casualty crash rates on the Kings Highway are 85% higher than the NSW average and road fatalities are 8% higher. The NRMA Road survey found:

In particular, the rate of people hospitalised after crashes on the Kings Highway is well over the national average. 877 crashes were recorded on Kings Highway over a 10-year period, an average of about one crash every four days. Over this time there have been 24 fatal crashes, 355 crashes resulting in injury and 488 crashes resulting in property damage. The rate was worse than this in 2004, when there were 103 crashes resulting in six fatalities and 53 injuries.
Crashes on the Kings Highway have cost $42.65 million over the past three years – that’s equivalent to nearly $39,000 every day.
Safety: particular concerns over Clyde Mountain, and only 5% of road deemed to provide “safe”overtaking opportunities. Two blackspots (one in Eurobodalla and one in Palerang) and 16 blacklengths (nine in Eurobodalla, six in Palerang and one in Queanbeyan City) are identified. The 40km section of road over the Great Dividing Range – which includes Clyde Mountain – recorded the highest number of crashes,with 22% of all incidents occurring in this area.
The most common type of crash – 18% of all incidents – was when a vehicle leaves the road to the left on a right hand bend and crashes into a stationary object. Head-on collisions made up one in 10 of all crashes. Crashes occurred most frequently on Sundays (20%) and least frequently on Tuesdays (9%).

See also

References

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