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The joke that was the William Hovell Drive 80 km/h speed limit implementation

By 20 April 2012 34

My inevitable rant regarding the woeful implementation of the William Hovell Drive speed limit. Most notably, motorists who turn right onto William Hovell from Bindubi street, will not pass an 80 km/h sign for just under 2 km… yet mobile cameras are allowed to operate along the entire length of the road. Read on if interested.

On April 18th I received several emails asking why the speed limit had been reduced along William Hovell Drive. Initially I had no idea.

Today however a media release has been made available for public viewing. Tony Gill, director of Roads ACT stated that “There has been a total of 11 casualty crashes at the intersections of William Hovell Drive/Coppins Crossing Road and the intersection of William Hovell Drive/Bindubi Street in the last five years. A report completed in August 2011, which assessed the safety of William Hovell Drive, recommended that the speed limit be reduced from 90 km/h to 80 km.”

Fair enough. 90 km/h is a very high speed limit for an intersection controlled by traffic signals. I personally have seen the aftermath of a number of a large number of traffic collisions at Coppins Crossing Road, it is indeed a dangerous intersection.

That said, in true A.C.T Government and Roads A.C.T fashion however, multiple breaches of Australian Standards can be found with the new speed limit signage.

1. Most notably, motorists turning right onto William Hovell Drive from Bindubi Street will not pass a single 80 km/h speed limit sign for almost 2 km. The speed limit on William Hovell Drive had been 90 km/h for nearly two decades. Motorists who use the road frequently are almost certainly going to accelerate to 90 km/h out of habit along this stretch… particularly seeing as there are absolutely NO 80 km/h signs to warn them of the decreased speed limit.

This absurd oversight is in blatant violation of AS 1742.4 3.2.7(d), which clearly states that speed limit signs “…shall be provided just beyond important intersections for the benefit of traffic which has just turned from another road if the limit is other than the default limit.” “Where required just beyond a major intersection -a sign on both sides of the road 100–150 m (urban) or 300–400 m (rural) beyond the intersection” is required. It also demonstrates that whoever implemented the lower speed limit, carried out not quality assurance to ensure that no speed limit grey areas existed.

2. A similar situation applies for motorists turning out of Coppins Crossing Road, onto William Hovell Drive. No 80 km/h speed limit signs until they’ve driven 600 metres along William Hovell Drive. 600 metres is more than enough distance to accelerate up to 90 km/h.

“Plenty of messages can be found on William Hovell Drive reminding motorists not to exceed speed limits. However the new speed limit on William Hovell Drive is so poorly signposted, that motorists may travel throughout almost the entire zone without passing a single sign.”

3. A 500 metre offset speed limit applies at the western end of the new speed limit, where the speed limit on William Hovell Drive is now 80 km/h one way and 90 km/h the other. This is not compliant with AS 1742.4 2.3.6, which only permits differing speed limits for different directions of the same road in certain circumstances, none of which apply in this situation. Motorists, who are travelling Westbound on William Hovell Drive, are now permitted to accelerate from 80 km/h to 90 km/h, immediately before two lanes merge into one. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to permit drivers to speed up immediately before having to negotiate an often busy Form One Lane?

4. Road users heading eastbound on William Hovell Drive will re-enter a 90 km/h linear speed limit, immediately before they’re required to slow down to a recommended 75 km/h for the Glenloch interchange. Whoever has decided on this location for the speed limit boundary has overlooked AS 1742.4 3.2.3(d) which clearly states that “A change from a lower to a higher zoned speed limit should be avoided as far as practicable just in advance of a section of lower speed value alignment or hazard or other feature requiring a speed reduction. The lower speed limit should be carried through or past the section or feature.” The A.C.T Government could have carried the 80 km/h speed limit through the 75 km/h corner, without being in violation of the standard. Offset speed limit zones are permitted on divided roads where the characteristics of each carriageway differ and warrant different speed limits.

A map reflecting the dot points made above. As signposted, some motorists will not be aware of the new 80 km/h speed limit, until 2 km after they've turned onto William Hovell Drive. Mobile speed cameras operate along this entire road.

These rather gaping holes in speed limit signage were NOT caused by vandalism, they were NOT caused by adverse weather, they were NOT caused by aging signs… they were caused by an A.C.T Government Department continuing to possess an utterly nonchalant attitude when it comes to perhaps our most important road signs. Speed limit signs.

Road deaths are one of the leading causes of all deaths worldwide. The United Nations has labelled this decade “The Decade of Action for Road Safety.” The World Health Organisation has labelled excessive speed as being the leading cause of all road deaths. In order to have motorists slow down and respect speed limits, it is absolutely imperative that the A.C.T Government and Roads A.C.T employ speed limit signing and zoning techniques and protocols at are absolute, bullet proof and respectable by the majority of the population. If motorists respect speed limits, they’re more likely to obey them.

By continuing to set speed limits in a third world manner as is currently the case in the A.C.T, motorists are going to continue to ignore speed limits, and cry “revenue raising” when speed limits are heavily enforced. Rightfully so.

Mr Gill was quoted as saying “Motorists are urged to adhere to the new speed limit which is signposted.” Mr Gill, this is false. The new speed limit on William Hovell Drive is far from adequately signposted. Whoever signed off on this speed limit change in its current state clearly does not know what they’re doing.

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34 Responses to The joke that was the William Hovell Drive 80 km/h speed limit implementation
#1
nice_enough11:48 am, 20 Apr 12

Hey dude, just don’t speed, stop whinging and drive safely.

#2
Mysteryman12:12 pm, 20 Apr 12

Is this a surprise to anyone? The ACT government is absolutely pathetic when it comes to road management. They have a terrible track record and continue to make idiotic decisions concerning speed limits, roadworks, bus lanes, and just about anything else within their control.

ACT Labor – demonstrated incompetence and wastefulness.

#3
AlpineViper12:15 pm, 20 Apr 12

nice_enough said :

Hey dude, just don’t speed, stop whinging and drive safely.

And we’re off and racing straight away with someone who didn’t read (or at least bother to think) about the entire point of the post.

Keep up the good work Bungers.

#4
p112:23 pm, 20 Apr 12

AlpineViper said :

Keep up the good work Bungers.

+1

#5
c_c12:25 pm, 20 Apr 12

Mysteryman said :

Is this a surprise to anyone? The ACT government is absolutely pathetic when it comes to road management. They have a terrible track record and continue to make idiotic decisions concerning speed limits, roadworks, bus lanes, and just about anything else within their control.

ACT Labor – demonstrated incompetence and wastefulness.

Hark your mind back to when lest the Liberals held power and say honestly it was any better.
Now look at the Liberals team and say honestly whether it would be any better.

Now that you’ve realised this is ACT politics where both sides have a shallow talent pool and will stuff plenty up regardless of who is in power, and that both sides will rely on the same incompetent public servants, the whole bashing who ever is in power starts to look a little foolish.

We need better people on both sides of the chamber and on the cross seats.

#6
Genie12:29 pm, 20 Apr 12

I drove along William Hovell yesterday and saw the solar powered sign stating the speed limit was 80. But once you past the lights heading towards West Belco there was nothing sign posted.
Anyone turning out of Bindubi doesn’t see a speed limit sign.

I’d be interested to find out how many people have been booked speeding along there this week.

Oh and 11 fatalities in the last 5 years at the Cotter Road intersection ? Really ? Am I that oblivious??

#7
androo12:30 pm, 20 Apr 12

well they had an excess of 80kmh sights from the GDE…

But seriously, just fix the Coppins Crossing Rd intersection and be done with it. Surely that’s a priority given the increased traffic coming with Molonglo?

#8
Tetranitrate12:31 pm, 20 Apr 12

nice_enough said :

Hey dude, just don’t speed, stop whinging and drive safely.

That might be a bit difficult when

Tetranitrate said :

The new speed limit on William Hovell Drive is far from adequately signposted

#9
wildturkeycanoe12:33 pm, 20 Apr 12

I heard this morning someone was already pulled up by the red n blues. Wonder what the result was.

#10
buzz81912:41 pm, 20 Apr 12

nice_enough said :

Hey dude, just don’t speed, stop whinging and drive safely.

Hey dude, grow a brain.

#11
Loxmyf1:00 pm, 20 Apr 12

Genie said :

Oh and 11 fatalities in the last 5 years at the Cotter Road intersection ? Really ? Am I that oblivious??

You’re not oblivious. It’s not even fatalities. It’s casualties, which doesn’t necessarily mean death occurred. But to be a statistic with any meaning, it needs to be casualties per ‘x’ km driven on the road.

Keep up the good fight Sgt.Bungers.

#12
mp26151:19 pm, 20 Apr 12

I would very much like to know how the accident statistics are compiled, and where they can be accessed. So, 11 casualty accidents in 5 years here. That’s roughly one every 6 months. Is this counting the number of accidents resulting in casualty or the number of casualties ? Does casualties include fatalities or is that a seperate count ? How about a list of sites ranked by number of accident events, casualties, and fatalities ? with a breakdown by age group, time of day etc.

I also think an accident rate would be very useful here, giving some context to the accident counts by including usage i.e. number of vehicles using the road.

#13
shirty_bear1:25 pm, 20 Apr 12

nice_enough said :

Hey dude, just don’t speed, stop whinging and drive safely.

peanut

p1 said :

AlpineViper said :

Keep up the good work Bungers.

+1

+2

#14
devils_advocate1:50 pm, 20 Apr 12

I don’t memorise the posted limits on ACT roads, other than those I drive fairly regularly.

That said, I would ordinarily drive 90 on william hovell, (as the OP says, it’s been that way since I can remember) unless there’s a specific sign post telling me otherwise (in fact I thought it was now 90 all the way from west belconnen through glenloch interchange into the city where it drops down to 80 just near civic).

So yes, if there are sections of this road that are now 80 and the speed limit is not signposted, I would be one of the ones that would be caught out (unfairly, in my view).

#15
pptvb2:53 pm, 20 Apr 12

mp2615 said :

I would very much like to know how the accident statistics are compiled, and where they can be accessed. So, 11 casualty accidents in 5 years here. That’s roughly one every 6 months. Is this counting the number of accidents resulting in casualty or the number of casualties ? Does casualties include fatalities or is that a seperate count ? How about a list of sites ranked by number of accident events, casualties, and fatalities ? with a breakdown by age group, time of day etc.

I also think an accident rate would be very useful here, giving some context to the accident counts by including usage i.e. number of vehicles using the road.

cas·u·al·ty
? ?/?kæ?u?lti/ Show Spelled[kazh-oo-uhl-tee] Show IPA
noun, plural cas·u·al·ties.
1.
Military .
a.
a member of the armed forces lost to service through death, wounds, sickness, capture, or because his or her whereabouts or condition cannot be determined.
b.
casualties, loss in numerical strength through any cause, as death, wounds, sickness, capture, or desertion.
2.
one who is injured or killed in an accident: There were no casualties in the traffic accident.
3.
any person, group, thing, etc., that is harmed or destroyed as a result of some act or event: Their house was a casualty of the fire.
4.
a serious accident, especially one involving bodily injury or death.

I had to look it up, I always thought a casualty = dead!

#16
Mysteryman4:11 pm, 20 Apr 12

c_c said :

Mysteryman said :

Is this a surprise to anyone? The ACT government is absolutely pathetic when it comes to road management. They have a terrible track record and continue to make idiotic decisions concerning speed limits, roadworks, bus lanes, and just about anything else within their control.

ACT Labor – demonstrated incompetence and wastefulness.

Hark your mind back to when lest the Liberals held power and say honestly it was any better.
Now look at the Liberals team and say honestly whether it would be any better.

Now that you’ve realised this is ACT politics where both sides have a shallow talent pool and will stuff plenty up regardless of who is in power, and that both sides will rely on the same incompetent public servants, the whole bashing who ever is in power starts to look a little foolish.

We need better people on both sides of the chamber and on the cross seats.

Ah yes.. the “but the liberals might be worse!” agrument. That’s probably the worst reason ever to keep electing the current morons. I’ll take “might possibly be incompetent” over “proven incompetent for the past 11 years”, thanks very much.

#17
JC5:28 pm, 20 Apr 12

devils_advocate said :

So yes, if there are sections of this road that are now 80 and the speed limit is not signposted, I would be one of the ones that would be caught out (unfairly, in my view).

That’s not true, it is signposted, just not very well. Entering the reduced speed limit area from either end of William Hovell Drive there are at least two sets of signs, the first being quite large.

Where there is an issue is if you come off Bindubi street turning right the next 80km/h sign isn’t until near Coulter Drive, having said that though your coming off an 80km/h zone and there is no 90km/h sign so what’s the speed limit? The answer is hmmmm, 50km/h isn’t it? Afterall aren’t all ACT roads 50km/h unless marked otherwise.

Having said that though I don’t reckon all the who har about lack of adversing the change is warranted. I mean to say they have bloody large electronic signs advising the new limit, and if they don’t enforce the new limit for a few weeks then that’s fine.

#18
milkman6:55 pm, 20 Apr 12

Hasn’t there been some accidents along there recently, caused mainly by some peoples’ sorry-ass lack of ability to judge the speed of traffic they are supposed to give way to?

#19
Sgt.Bungers7:08 pm, 20 Apr 12

JC said :

Where there is an issue is if you come off Bindubi street turning right the next 80km/h sign isn’t until near Coulter Drive, having said that though your coming off an 80km/h zone and there is no 90km/h sign so what’s the speed limit? The answer is hmmmm, 50km/h isn’t it? Afterall aren’t all ACT roads 50km/h unless marked otherwise.

That’s not true. According to the A.C.T Road users handbook, a default 50 km/h speed limit applies on urban roads which have houses and streetlights. A default 100 km/h limit applies on rural roads unless otherwise signposted.

http://actroads.org/act-speed-limits

A person turning onto the unsignposted section of William Hovell Drive who is unfamiliar with the road, could easily be lulled into believing the default rural speed limit of 100 km/h applies… thanks to no other speed limit being signposted.

#20
Afurotsu7:54 pm, 20 Apr 12

As always, I love your work!
Keep them in line!

By the way, someone seems to have taken notice of the issues with the GDE, and there’s now signage before and after the Barton Highway overpass, both directions.

#21
Alan Shore11:27 pm, 20 Apr 12

The whole road is a farce now. No rhyme or reason to the limit changes (signposted or not) for the whole stretch. When the weird Glenloch dip to 80kph was removed not long ago, and it became 90kph the whole way to Civic/ANU, I thought sanity had prevailed. I should’ve known the sanity couldn’t have lasted. And for the sake of two prangs a year. Pack of morons.

#22
Gerry-Built3:21 am, 21 Apr 12

Thank you. An informative piece. Well done; thanks for your efforts!

The Coppin’s Crossing intersection issue has not been resolved. The whole ‘reasoning’ for this speed limit imposition is spurious. To think that reducing the limit by 10kmph is going to address the casualty/fatality issue is retarded in the extreme. A stretch a little further around WH Dr, behind Hawker, has seen a number of fatalities in the last decade (at least three in my memory), yet the limit remains untouched. I question the supposed motivation. It is almost as if GovCo has engineered a use for the signs remaining from changing the limit on GSE… :/

#23
Gerry-Built3:23 am, 21 Apr 12

GDE*

#24
JC8:19 am, 21 Apr 12

Sgt.Bungers said :

JC said :

Where there is an issue is if you come off Bindubi street turning right the next 80km/h sign isn’t until near Coulter Drive, having said that though your coming off an 80km/h zone and there is no 90km/h sign so what’s the speed limit? The answer is hmmmm, 50km/h isn’t it? Afterall aren’t all ACT roads 50km/h unless marked otherwise.

That’s not true. According to the A.C.T Road users handbook, a default 50 km/h speed limit applies on urban roads which have houses and streetlights. A default 100 km/h limit applies on rural roads unless otherwise signposted.

http://actroads.org/act-speed-limits

A person turning onto the unsignposted section of William Hovell Drive who is unfamiliar with the road, could easily be lulled into believing the default rural speed limit of 100 km/h applies… thanks to no other speed limit being signposted.

Bzzzt it is 100% true, suggest you read the actual road rules, rather than the road users handbook.

http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2010-113/current/pdf/2010-113.pdf

Specifically look at rule 25 part 2 which says “The default speed-limit applying to a driver for a length of road in a built-up area is 50 kilometres per hour. Note Built-up area is defined in the dictionary.”

Then refer to the meaning of a built up area and you will see it means

“built-up area, in relation to a length of road, means an area in which either of the following is present for a distance of at least 500 metres or, if the length of road is shorter than 500 metres, for the whole road: (a) buildings, not over 100 metres apart, on land next to the road;
(b) street lights not over 100 metres apart.
Note Length of road, is defined in this dictionary.”

Now considering William Hovell Drive has street lights not over 100m apart along for a distance greater than 500m over the stretch of road we are talking about (specifically between Bindubi and Coulter Drives) it is clearly a built up area so subject to 50km/h unless otherwise signed.

As stated it is signed quite clearly if your coming along William Hovell Drive, but not signed for 2km if turning right off Bindubi, not sure about when turning left off Coulter though.

#25
mr reason3:38 pm, 21 Apr 12

“Is this a surprise to anyone? The ACT government is absolutely pathetic when it comes to road management. They have a terrible track record and continue to make idiotic decisions concerning speed limits, roadworks, bus lanes, and just about anything else within their control.

ACT Labor – demonstrated incompetence and wastefulness.

Hark your mind back to when lest the Liberals held power and say honestly it was any better.
Now look at the Liberals team and say honestly whether it would be any better.”

What does this have to do with politics anyway?

#26
housebound4:38 pm, 21 Apr 12

mr reason said :

“Is this a surprise to anyone? The ACT government is absolutely pathetic when it comes to road management. They have a terrible track record and continue to make idiotic decisions concerning speed limits, roadworks, bus lanes, and just about anything else within their control. ACT Labor – demonstrated incompetence and wastefulness.
Hark your mind back to when lest the Liberals held power and say honestly it was any better.
Now look at the Liberals team and say honestly whether it would be any better.”

But could it be any worse?

A change of government only rarely improves the calibre of politician (although some real shockers do tend to go). The main advantage is that the change shakes up some of the less edifying cosy little deals that happen about the place. Sometimes corrupt and sometimes just too partisan for the good of the place, those delays start building back up with each new government, but you usually get a term or two before the government becomes unable to govern effectively.

Back on topic.

That stretch of William Hovell is now confusing, to say the least. But hey, why not make a much-used ring road an opportunity for raising revenue through speed fines?

#27
Sgt.Bungers8:54 pm, 21 Apr 12

JC said :

Sgt.Bungers said :

JC said :

Where there is an issue is if you come off Bindubi street turning right the next 80km/h sign isn’t until near Coulter Drive, having said that though your coming off an 80km/h zone and there is no 90km/h sign so what’s the speed limit? The answer is hmmmm, 50km/h isn’t it? Afterall aren’t all ACT roads 50km/h unless marked otherwise.

That’s not true. According to the A.C.T Road users handbook, a default 50 km/h speed limit applies on urban roads which have houses and streetlights. A default 100 km/h limit applies on rural roads unless otherwise signposted.

http://actroads.org/act-speed-limits

A person turning onto the unsignposted section of William Hovell Drive who is unfamiliar with the road, could easily be lulled into believing the default rural speed limit of 100 km/h applies… thanks to no other speed limit being signposted.

Bzzzt it is 100% true, suggest you read the actual road rules, rather than the road users handbook.

http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2010-113/current/pdf/2010-113.pdf

Specifically look at rule 25 part 2 which says “The default speed-limit applying to a driver for a length of road in a built-up area is 50 kilometres per hour. Note Built-up area is defined in the dictionary.”

Then refer to the meaning of a built up area and you will see it means

“built-up area, in relation to a length of road, means an area in which either of the following is present for a distance of at least 500 metres or, if the length of road is shorter than 500 metres, for the whole road: (a) buildings, not over 100 metres apart, on land next to the road;
(b) street lights not over 100 metres apart.
Note Length of road, is defined in this dictionary.”

Now considering William Hovell Drive has street lights not over 100m apart along for a distance greater than 500m over the stretch of road we are talking about (specifically between Bindubi and Coulter Drives) it is clearly a built up area so subject to 50km/h unless otherwise signed.

As stated it is signed quite clearly if your coming along William Hovell Drive, but not signed for 2km if turning right off Bindubi, not sure about when turning left off Coulter though.

Well bugger! I was wrong. Spose it was silly of me to assume the road users hand book had correct information for new drivers in the ACT. :-)

But as we’re now down to talking about distances between street lights to try to work out a speed limit, it really drives home that the limit isn’t clear.

Drivers turning left out of Coulter will pass a speed limit sign in under 400 metres. Turning right out of Coulter they don’t pass any 80 km/h signs at all.

#28
artuoui9:00 pm, 21 Apr 12

p1 said :

AlpineViper said :

Keep up the good work Bungers.

+1

add another 1 (better late than never)

#29
JC9:04 am, 22 Apr 12

Sgt.Bungers said :

Well bugger! I was wrong. Spose it was silly of me to assume the road users hand book had correct information for new drivers in the ACT. :-)

But as we’re now down to talking about distances between street lights to try to work out a speed limit, it really drives home that the limit isn’t clear.

Drivers turning left out of Coulter will pass a speed limit sign in under 400 metres. Turning right out of Coulter they don’t pass any 80 km/h signs at all.

Correct turning right out of Coulter they won’t see an 80km/h sign, but maybe that is because the speed limit, as you pointed out in your first post changes to 90km/h just past the intersection with Coppings Crossing Road. The real issue is right out of Bindubi where again as you said in your post above there is no speed limit sign for a good 2km.

Went through city bound yesterday and that seems to be ok, except of course the whole stupidity of it. As I wrote in another thread all the accidents I’ve seen on this road have been due to inappropriate speed in the conditions leading to rear enders, in particular in peak hour where 80km/h is hard to achieve let alone the full 90km/h.

I also believe the stupid road design has a lot to do with it too, especially at Coulter Drive where the merges just after the intersection (on both sides) lead the stupid people to drive too fast for the conditions just to get in front, then having to break heavily. Again note the words too fast for the conditions as most of these people are not actually speeding, just being stupid, so again dropping to 80km/h won’t help one little bit.

#30
Nightshade10:14 pm, 22 Apr 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

I heard this morning someone was already pulled up by the red n blues. Wonder what the result was.

I haven’t yet seen them in the 80 km/hr part, but they are paying an unusual amount of attention to the 90 km/hr part (westbound) – as if to catch people who’ve breathed a sigh of relief that things are back to normal and gone too far. There was a speed camera van just after the first 90 km/hr sign and “form one lane” on Friday night. Tonight, as I passed the roundabout to Drake-Brockman (heading to the city) I saw a police car driving the other way with flashing lights. Couldn’t tell if it was chasing someone or just in a hurry, but further down the hill was another car with flashing lights that had pulled someone over.

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