Businesses back RAA risky road rating

CLARE Valley business owners have thrown their support behind an RAA-led campaign for vital improvements on Horrocks Highway.

The highway was voted the most dangerous regional road by RAA members in the 2017 Risky Road survey and the RAA is calling on the government to fix it as a matter of urgency.

Clare Valley Business and Tourism Association vice chairperson and Cogwebs Hub Café business owner at Auburn, Judy Searley is an RAA ‘road champion’ – displaying its road safety campaign stickers in her business – and has jumped on board in support of the RAA’s campaign to improve the road.

Ms Searley said as a tourism business operator, cycling enthusiast and cycling tourism supporter, and a regular commuter on Horrocks Highway, she had concerns about the state of the road and its impact on tourism.

“As the vice chair of the Clare Valley Business and Tourism Association we’re doing anything we can to encourage people to the region and when there are potholes in the road and so few overtaking points I’m sure it does have an impact on visitor numbers coming into the region,” she said.

“If people come once and they obviously experience the condition of the roads it may deter them from doing a repeat visit.”

Ms Searley said her partner drives frequently on the road between Auburn and Adelaide and his vehicle has undergone suspension repairs, which they suspect is a result of the undulating road and potholes.

Ms Searley also believed the poor state of Horrocks Highway was an issue in attracting cyclists to the Clare Valley.

“We’ve got the Clare Classic coming up on April 8 and we have a team coming to the region regularly to try and familiarise themselves as much as they can with the area and they’re finding that the roads are very difficult to ride,” she said.

“For drivers, even if they trying to allow the 1m distance from cyclists, with the potholes and the narrow width of road it does sometimes force them to divert from their planned drive to avoid these hazards.”

The RAA says the casualty crash rate per kilometre on the stretch of road from Gawler to Clare is four times greater that it is for the rest of Horrocks Highway, with four deaths and 109 people injured (2012 to 2016).

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