PORT Stephens residents have had a win in their long fight to curb traffic accidents on a notorious stretch of road, with a new speed limit set to be imposed.
More than 8000 motorists travel the 7.8km stretch of road between Tomago and Williamtown each day.
Already this year, there has been a man killed, a woman trapped and four people injured in two serious accidents in the 90km/h speed zone where Tomago and Cabbage Tree roads meet.
Repeated calls for a speed limit reduction to 80km/h, that would add 39 seconds to the trip, have finally been answered.
A review of the speed limit completed by Roads and Maritime Services last year, obtained under freedom of information laws, revealed Tomago Rd was 12 times more dangerous than similar 90km/h rural roads in NSW and Cabbage Tree Rd was five times more dangerous.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington, who led the community campaign to get the speed limit reduced on one of the most dangerous roads in her electorate, said it was about time.
"This decision will be a relief for local residents and motorists using Tomago Road and Cabbage Tree Road, but it should not have taken over 18 months and a freedom of information campaign to get this outcome," she said.
"When a government department knows that a road is 12 times more dangerous than other similar roads, it should not leave the report sitting on someone's desk."
The campaign to get the speed limit changed on the narrow, two-lane stretch of road was part of the Newcastle Herald's Your Right to Know campaign.
Residents started publicly calling for a review of the speed limit in February last year and since then there has been two fatal crashes on the stretch of road.
In March, a 75-year-old man was killed when two cars collided on Tomago Rd and the 32-year-old man had to be airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.
Three passengers, two women and a two-year-old boy, were also injured.
The accident was Port Stephens' first road fatality this year.
Last month, a woman in her 40s had to be cut from her car after a two-vehicle collision on the same stretch of road.
Tomago Rd resident Tony Formosa said his wife, Lea, had nearly been hit twice in recent years trying to turn into the couple's driveway.
"There have been two or three fatalities just down the road from me," he said.
"It's a 90km/h speed limit and everyone is doing 100km/h, it's far too dangerous."
In announcing the decision this week, Transport for NSW region north director Anna Zycki described the casualty rate as "high".
"There are a significant number of fatal and serious injury crashes with an accelerated increase in crash and casualty rates," she said.
Ms Washington urged motorists to stick to the new speed limit when it is introduced. "Local residents and workers have been calling for this change for years," she said.
"This is a win for their perseverance and their concern for fellow motorists.
"Tragically, the government's delay in dealing with the risk of the road ended in tragedy for too many families.
"The Newcastle Herald's involvement in this campaign continues the paper's proud tradition of public interest journalism which delivers change that improves people's lives."
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