Mike Stevens | Mar 18, 2010

NEARLY THREE QUARTERS of New South Wales' motorway merging lanes are "potentially unsafe", according to a recent audit by NRMA Motoring and Services.

Reviewing 124 locations across Sydney where traffic merged onto motorways or where lanes ended, the audit found that 73 percent had signs that were incorrect, poorly located or missing altogether.

The audit also showed that almost one-quarter (22 percent) of merge lanes were too short - although no definition of an appropriate length was offered.

The audit identified both the M5 east outbound and citybound entries from Marsh Street as two of the worst merging locations for motorists. Others areas singled out included Southern Cross Drive southbound entry from General Holmes Drive before the airport tunnel, and The M4 westbound entry from Concord Road.

NRMA President Wendy Machin said the report identified trouble areas where congestion and vehicle emissions could be reduced by improving signage, removing obstructions and extending merging lanes.

"Once you have a hold up on busy motorways such as the M2, M4 or M5 in peak periods, the traffic jam can build up at the rate of 1.5km every minute," Ms Machin said.

"Motorists need to have enough warning to allow them to adjust their speed so that traffic is able to merge safely - if someone unfamiliar with the road is faced with these situations then it could lead to a mistake being made at high speed."

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