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$95,000 for CCTV, better lighting and secure fencing along Newell Highway bypass

NEARLY $100,000 in funding will be allocated to assist with a solution to put an end to the horrific spate of rock-throwing on the Newell Highway bypass in Moree.

In recent months more than 45 incidents of trucks being pelted with rocks have occurred on the stretch of highway from the Alice Street intersection to where the bypass merges with Frome Street.

Truck-drivers have warned that sooner or later a serious accident will happen as a direct result of vehicles being hit with missiles being hurled by juveniles.

There is even a push to redirect heavy vehicles back down Balo Street as a form of protest until action is taken.

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Damaged fencing along the Newell Highway bypass.

Member for New England Adam Marshall said the NSW State government, via the Roads and Maritime Services, has put $95,000 on the table to assist with a solution and to support council with the installation of additional lighting along the notorious stretch of highway and extra CCTV cameras to monitor the problem areas.

“The recent spate rock throwing at trucks and other vehicles along the Moree town bypass is nothing short of disgraceful,” Mr Marshall said in a statement issued today (December 19).

“Not only are the perpetrators recklessly endangering the lives of innocent motorists, they are also causing the Moree community to have its positive public reputation damaged.

“This cannot be allowed to continue and the solution to this problem must involve the whole community,” he said.

“I acknowledge the leadership of Moree Plains Shire Council in bringing together local police, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to discuss a joint approach to preventing these activities from continuing.

“A combined approach is vital to stopping the rock throwing,” Mr Marshall said.

RMS owns and manages the bypass while ARTC owns and manages the rail corridor and fencing.

Despite concerted efforts to repair the fence, it is continuously destroyed by vandals seeking a shortcut across the bypass.

And it is these gaping holes along the fence that are giving rock-throwers easy access to the highway’s kerbside.

“I am aware that the ARTC is also currently considering a more permanent fencing option, to ensure the bypass boundary fence is not being cut, making it very easy for the rock throwers to continue,” Mr Marshall said.

“As the rocks are being sourced from the rail-line ballast, the fencing is critical and we all eagerly await ARTC’s decision.”

Mr Marshall added that local police have also stepped up patrols, which will be aided by additional lighting and CCTV cameras.

“The community can also do its bit as well, by providing any information about the identity of these rock throwers to police,” Mr Marshall said.

“The perpetrators have families, friends and associates. Someone must know something and we need them to come forward.

“As a community, Moree cannot accept this sort of reckless, selfish and destructive behaviour,” he said.