In response to a series of fatal crashes along the Kings Highway at Braidwood, Roads Maritime Services (RMS) carried out a road safety review that recommended a combination of road safety improvements. The recommended works included removal of roadside trees and installation of safety barrier.
We were engaged by RMS to prepare a Landscape Character and Visual Impact Assessment for the proposed works together with a Tree Management Plan. The issues of tree management and road safety were addressed in an integrated process that included recommended mitigation measures to achieve a balance between improved road safety and the desire of the Braidwood community to maintain the avenues of trees along the Kings Highway.
A long term program of avenue tree planting was proposed to replace the existing trees further away from the roadside to reduce the risk of collisions. Sections of guardrails and wire rope safety barrier are also proposed along sections of the highway to allow retention of roadside trees.
Location: Braidwood NSW Australia
Images: Corkery Consulting
The Township Braidwood is listed on the NSW Heritage Branch State Heritage Register, which states: “Aesthetic views of the town include: the approach from Canberra, where the town is framed by a row of Poplars;” (State Heritage Register, 2006). The listing makes specific reference to the avenue of Lombardy and Golden Poplar trees planted along Kings Highway in 1936 to celebrate the 25 year reign of King George V.
The pastoral landscape setting of Braidwood consists of expansive broad valleys and rolling hills together with the avenues of roadside trees that provide the primary visual
experience for road users along the sections of the Kings Highway at the northern and eastern approaches to Township. These avenues of roadside trees create a distinct cultural landscape identity and sense of place that is visually memorable for road users.
The potential visual impact of removing a number of the roadside trees as part of the proposed road safety works on key viewpoints was assessed. Similarly the potential visual impacts on motorists travelling along Kings Highway approaches to Braidwood were evaluated in relation to the removal of trees and installation of safety barrier.
The Tree Management Plan provides for avenue tree planting further away from the Highway to replace the trees, which will in the longer term assure the historic continuity to avenues of trees as major cultural landscape elements identified with Braidwood.
Noel Corkery attended the community consultation workshop arranged by RMS to explain the visual assessment process and outcomes as well as the recommended strategy for replacement the roadside avenues trees in the longer term.