18 March 2024

Bill Collins never wants to see another accident at the bottom of Bulli Pass - but he needs your help

| Zoe Cartwright
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man standing on footpath and holding a letter

Bill Collins has told police and politicians what he wants done to prevent another tragic accident on Bulli Pass – now he needs community members to raise their voices too. Photo: Zoe Cartwright.

Bill Collins cradled one of the victims of February’s fatal Bulli crash in his arms as emergency services raced against the clock to get her out of her crumpled car.

He never wants to have to do it again – but he needs the community’s help.

Bill and his wife, Tracey, live at the bottom of Bulli Pass, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before another fatal accident.

“I didn’t think it was a car crash to start off with – the sound was like a building coming down,” Bill said.

“I bolted through the house and got to the car. Once I established the woman inside was breathing, I wasn’t prepared to touch her because of the situation she was in until the ambos got there.

“After they got there I just kept her head and neck straight so she could keep breathing while the emergency services got to work.”

The woman was flown to St George Hospital, where she remains.

Bill hopes the tragic consequences of the crash in February will motivate politicians to act, but he knows without pressure from the community it’s all too easy for the political cycle to move on.

READ ALSO UPDATE: One dead, three in a critical condition after truck and car smash at the bottom of Bulli Pass

He’s met local MPs and been told the best way to spark action is through community support.

To that end, he and Tracey have put together a survey. Now they need as many people as possible to take part, to ensure the issue doesn’t fall off the political agenda.

“What occurred three weeks ago was inevitable,” Bill said.

“Someone is dead, others likely have life-long injuries. It’s happened once and it will happen again.

“This is infrastructure from the 1920s and it’s just not built to cope with the demands of 2024.

“We’ve seen the worst-case scenario and if we don’t do anything, if we don’t make some noise, nothing will get done.”

Bill said local road users were best placed to offer suggestions on what could be done in the short term, as they used the road every day and were familiar with the challenges it posed.

He said several people had already contributed suggestions that could be implemented immediately, such as a strict size and weight limit on heavy vehicles using the pass, and clear signage to let truck drivers know about the curved safety barrier at the bottom.

READ ALSO Man charged over fatal Thirroul crash

Once enough residents have had their say, he plans to take the survey to Member for Heathcote Maryanne Stuart so she can advocate the changes to the Roads Minister.

“These are suggestions that could make a difference in the short term and get done reasonably quickly and fairly cheaply,” he said.

“We know there needs to be major work done around the pass, but we can’t just wait around for that to happen.

“I struggle with the knowledge that unless something happens, I will have to cradle someone else’s head while the firies take their car apart around them.

“Someone has died. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. This can’t be ignored and I don’t think anything will happen unless we, as a community, make some noise while it’s fresh in everyone’s mind.”

To take part in the survey, head to: Bulli Pass Community Feedback.

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