Food for Thought

The Pacific Highway in NSW has been a death trap for decades.

Fortunately, things are changing and the coast road between Sydney and Brisbane is today better than ever before, though still accounting for too many lives along those sections where dual carriageway has yet to be introduced. Still, with work continuing, the bad sections will be one day replaced and the horrors that have plagued this infamous national thoroughfare will hopefully become a thing of the past; if not completely, then at least greatly.

Yet for all the good work at road level with its subsequent improvements in safety and efficiency for all road users, many linehaul truck drivers have good cause to bemoan the increasing disappearance of roadhouses which largely catered to truck traffic and for the most part, served good, healthy food rather than fast, fatty food.

Sure, the linehaul life and the diets of some drivers leave a lot to be desired anyway but even so, with the highway’s essential upgrade and diversion around those traditional stops where good meals at a reasonable price were known far and wide, the opportunity to sit down to a nutritious and, in some cases, home-cooked meal are disappearing at the same rate as the old sections of road.

One example, at least in the case of the Pacific Highway, was the good roadhouse at Moorlands, north of Taree. Nowadays, the only place for drivers to eat in the same vicinity is a large fast food outlet a short way off the highway on the southern outskirts of Taree.

Unfortunately, it’s a development happening in many places around the country where safer, faster dual carriageway is replacing previous highway routes. It’s certainly not exclusive to the Pacific Highway. Between Sydney and Melbourne, the Hume has effectively lost all its old road houses.

What’s obviously happening is that big, well informed retail fuel and food chains with huge funds are working closely with road authorities to establish mega-sites catering to ALL road users at carefully selected points along the new sections of highway.

And with almost no competition from alternative outlets between these sites, linehaul drivers have little or no options other than join the masses of expanding waistlines queuing for their next quarter-pound pattie or hormone-choked chook. Mmmmmm!

Source: Leading independent industry journalist.


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