From Penk’s Pen

I’d like to start by acknowledging with sadness the recent tragic accident at Brigham Creek Road, which I understand was a double fatality.
I am not a traffic investigator and nor would it be appropriate for me to comment on the details of the incident given that MPs are not supposed to comment on matters that have a realistic prospect of landing before a court.
I also do not wish to introduce any angle that would be disrespectful to the memory of the victims, by speaking out too soon. It is reasonable, however, for anyone to observe that the volume of traffic on our roads relative to the (slow) pace of infrastructure investment is out of all proportion.
This is a question of safety. It is also a question of productivity and lifestyle – when you consider the amount of time our people are forced to waste sitting in cars – but a safety must be a priority consideration.
Often safety improvements are planned and prioritised according to the number of accidents that have taken place, especially those involving death.While it’s understandable that such serious measures should provoke quick action, it’s tragic to think that safety improvements should effectively require that to happen.
Having said that, it sometimes feels as though we are simply waiting for deaths to occur in order for obvious improvements to be made.
Local and central government officials are often in a difficult position when asked to prioritise projects that are all worthy to some extent. This is why anyone who knows that safety improvements are needed must be empowered to speak out. Blowing the whistle on a lack of funding will always risk of offending those who hold the purse strings but the cost of staying silent is too high.
For residents of the northwest – including all who read The Causeway – let us hope and pray that there are no further similar accidents between now and the time it takes to rectify this situation. Work to widen the bridge at the dip in Brigham Creek Road must be an urgent priority for decision makers. Even in the immediate aftermath of the recent tragedy, that’s something I can safely say.

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