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

By Sgt.Bungers - 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
The joke that was the William Hovell Drive 80 km/h speed limit implementation
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aronde 1:13 pm 24 Apr 12

80k signs are now up in William Hovell just after you turn right from Bindubi but not sure if the other issues have been addressed. I hope TAMS is paying Sgt Bungers for his advice on how to adhere to the relevant standards for posting speed limits! Well done Sgt.

Joew 10:24 am 24 Apr 12

“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.”

So much for the “Brains Trust” in the ACT Roads!

They took FIVE years of “casualties” to decide to assess the safety of William Howell, then, when the report recommended the speed limit reduction, took EIGHT months to implement it!

Lightning fast, (not)!!!!

Joew 10:10 am 24 Apr 12

I was just about to congratulate the people responsible for raising the speed limit to 90km/hr along the GDE, including in “Spaghetti Junction”.

Then, some bright spark goes and reduces the speed limit to 80 along William Howell!

But wait, there is more!!! We leave the limit at 90 just before the interchange, where the road curves severely, there is an exit to the south, as well as, three lanes end up merging within a short space!

I wonder how long before there are accidents along there and the speed limit gets reduced to 80?!!

gazket 10:53 pm 22 Apr 12

and these people just gave themselves a pay rise……Mr Gill also said a few months ago Gungahlin town center wasn’t designed for buses.

These people who are running the place are a joke. If they had to quit their jobs tomorrow and apply for a new job they would starve.

Nightshade 10:14 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.

JC 9:04 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.

artuoui 9:00 pm 21 Apr 12

p1 said :

AlpineViper said :

Keep up the good work Bungers.

+1

add another 1 (better late than never)

Sgt.Bungers 8:54 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.

housebound 4:38 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?

mr reason 3:38 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?

JC 8:19 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.

Gerry-Built 3:23 am 21 Apr 12

GDE*

Gerry-Built 3:21 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… :/

Alan Shore 11:27 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.

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