An elderly man is fighting for life after being hit by a B-double truck in southern Sydney, an area that’s been plagued by heavy vehicles since a new toll was introduced on the M5 East.
Police said the 88-year-old pedestrian was struck on Forest Road in Bexley just before midday.
He’s been taken to St George Hospital in a critical condition, suffering suspected head, internal and leg injuries. The male truck driver has also been taken to hospital for mandatory testing.
Local resident says it was only a 'matter of time'
Nick, a resident of Bexley who did not want to use his last name, believes the B-Double truck was driving through the residential suburb to dodge the NSW Government’s new toll on the previously free M5 East tunnel.
“Many had said it was only a matter of time before something like this happened and sadly that’s become a reality today,” he said.
Nick claims the area has been inundated with massive trucks ever since the toll was introduced.
“Very sad and entirely preventable if the NSW Government had not continued on this course of encouraging trucks out of safe tunnels and onto residential streets.”
The distance-based toll was introduced on the motorway in July last year.
Depending on where vehicles enter the motorway, trucks pay between $9.48 and $27.80 each trip.
Bayside Council has estimated an extra 7,500 trucks and cars a day are driving onto Forest Road alone to avoid the toll.
Investigations into the circumstances around the accident are continuing.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson said they were monitoring heavy traffic on routes like Forest Road and will make changes "if necessary".
"Since the M8 opened, travel times have more than halved and crashes decreased by more than a third on the M5 East, which had been one of Australia’s most congested motorways," the spokesperson said.
"Clearways have also been installed by Transport for NSW on Forest Road and Stoney Creek Road to help traffic flow and ease congestion. Road movements across Sydney are also currently down around 48 per cent when compared to the same time in 2019."
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