Repairs to come as koala grid part damages tyre, car
DANIELLE Bilson and her daughter were on a shopping trip from Woombah to Yamba when she heard a loud bang.
Crossing the Woombah koala grid, the bang was followed by an object hurled metres into the air.
“All I could think of was oh please don’t let that come down through my windscreen,” she said.
The rod landed to the side of the car. Ms Bilson circled back around at the roundabout and stopped to figure out what happened.
“It gave me a real fright, and I was unsure what had happened,” she said.
“Straight away I saw that my tyre was completely flat and I could see some damage to my mudguard and the outside of the wheel arch,” she said.
“I rang my husband to come and help, as I waited for him I noticed that every time a car travelled over the grid it made a much louder noise then the other side was making.
“We retrieved the object that I saw land on the roadside and was surprised to find a 43cm steel rod that had come off the grid.”
Ms Bilson went straight home and reported the incident to Transport for NSW as her husband went to drop the tyre at One Stop Tyre in Yamba to be replaced.
“I didn’t feel comfortable to drive for a while … we were just lucky nobody was seriously hurt,” Ms Bilson said.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said that on a maintenance check they had identified some movement in the koala grid at the Woombah interchange.
“The project team has agreed on a remedial action plan and work is being carried out to rectify the issue with a replacement grid due to be installed from 27 to 30 January, weather permitting,” she said.
“All appropriate measures are in place to ensure the ongoing safety of road users and koalas.”
Ms Bilson was referred to a claim form by Transport for NSW, however it states that she must get two written quotes for the damage to her car, and it can take up to six weeks to process.
“I have been to the local smash repairs but they don’t have time to look at my car and give me a quote till Feb,” Ms Bilson said. “They said it will probably cost over $1000 and they would need the car for at least a week.
“We live in a semi rural area and I am a busy mum with three children still at home, I also do disability support work and rely on my car every day. I am really hoping (Transport for NSW) honour the claim which would also include a hire car while mine is getting fixed.”
Ms Bilson also posted the ordeal to a local Facebook post to warn others of the danger at the koala grid, and said she was buoyed by the support she had received after the incident.
“One Stop Tyre and Auto were really great and had to get a tyre to match from Sydney as they were out of stock locally – within two days they had a new one for me,” she said.
“I live in a wonderful community and have read so many messages of support and concern, and even offers from neighbours to drive me anywhere or pick up food if I need it, which is truly heart warming.”
There was a camera installed above the koala grid was used to monitor traffic during the holiday period until 11 January and has since been removed. Transport for NSW said that recordings are available up until this date by email on W2B@pacificcomplete.com.au or by calling 1800 778 900.
They said motorists in NSW who have sustained damage to their vehicles which they believe has been caused by the condition of a public road may lodge a claim for repair costs. Information about this is available here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/lodge-public-liability-claim-transport-nsw.