Death road barriers to be rushed for Easter
THE deadly stretch of road that claimed the lives of actor Jessica Falkholt and her family in a horrific head-on crash will be divided by a wire barrier in an urgent upgrade to prevent further carnage.
Construction will begin on Wednesday of a wire rope safety barrier, coupled with a rumble strip, after the state government prioritised the project.
The initial plan was to wait until an audit of all state roads identified which most needed upgrades.
However, work on the notorious stretch of the Princes Highway is being rolled out months early in a bid to prevent further tragedy over the busy Easter long weekend.
The barrier will separate traffic travelling at 100km/h on the single carriageway between Bendalong Rd and Luncheon Creek Rd, a distance of less than a kilometre.
Ms Falkholt, best known for her role in TV soap Home And Away, her parents Vivian and Lars, and sister Annabelle died after serial traffic offender Craig Whitall veered to the wrong side of the road at Mondayong, near Sussex Inlet on the south coast, on Boxing Day as he drove home from a methadone clinic.
Mr and Mrs Falkholt died at the scene. Annabelle, 21, died a few days later, and Jessica, 29, died after three weeks in a coma. Mr Whitall also died in the crash.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said: “Almost eight in 10 fatalities on country roads where the speed limit is 100km/h or higher involves the vehicle crossing the centre line or running off the road to the left.
“Many of these crashes can be avoided with simple road infrastructure upgrades.”
A relative of the Falkholts, who asked not to be identified, said the family welcomed the early action.
“We lost a whole branch of our family tree and clearly we do not want them to have died in vain,” the relative said yesterday. “It is fantastic that the government has decided to put in some safeguards for people who are using that road.
“So many people have lost their lives on this fatal stretch so something needed to be done.”
The state government flagged the work in its road safety plan last month after a dire Christmas holiday period claimed 29 lives, taking the 2017 road toll to 392.
Median barriers prevent up to 85 per cent of fatal and serious injury crashes, according to the Centre for Road Safety.
Close friends and family of the Falkholts will gather in late March for a special screening of the movie Harmony, the last film Jessica starred in before her death.
Home and Away star Jessica Falkholt. Lars, Vivian, Annabelle and (right) Jessica. The fiery south coast crash that killed the Falkholt family.