MORE money has been spent on the cost of accidents and fatalities on the Princes Highway, than the amount of money that has been – or will be – injected back into the road to make it safer.

The 12 fatalities on the section of the Princes Highway from Albion Park Rail to the Victorian border, this year to date, has already cost the community an conservative estimate of more than $18 million, according to figures from the Bureau of Transport Economics.

And the 50 fatalities (on the same section) of the Princes Highway, since 1998 has cost the community $75 million.

The State Government has allocated $380 million to the Princes Highway over the next 10 years, however $130 million of this will be spent north of Kiama – on the Kiama by-pass. A further $28 million is ear-marked for the Oak Flats Interchange.

Most of the remaining State Government allocation will be spent north of Nowra, on the construction of a daul carriageway to Jervis Bay, by 2012.

The figures have been drawn from a study compiled by The Bureau of Transport Economics, which outlines the average cost to the community of a fatality and an accident resulting in injury.

The average cost per crash (all injury levels) was $24,000. The average cost of a fatality was $1.5 million, a serious injury crash was $408,000 and minor injury crash was $14,000.

These costs were calculated to include the costs of medical and emergency personnel, long-term care, vehicle repairs, losses of labour, workplace disruptions and travel delays.

The figures could obviously not include the human costs involved in pain and grief and were based on 1996 values.

Using these figures, the cost of fatalities on the Princes Highway in a three year period – from 1997 to 1999 was $79.5 million and accidents resulting in injury cost $38, 856,000 – more than $39 million per year over the three year period.

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