27 April 2023

Traffic lights to tame 'Russian roulette' black spot in Weston

| Ian Bushnell
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intersection road works

The Brierly Street/Hindmarsh Drive intersection where traffic lights will be installed. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Work has started on fixing one of Canberra’s most notorious intersections, where traffic lights will replace what has been described as Russian roulette.

The Brierly Street T-junction with Hindmarsh Drive coming out of Cooleman Court in Weston has been a regular crash scene as drivers mistime their run, are collected by speeding vehicles or fail to see oncoming traffic.

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Part of the Federal Government’s Black Spot program, the Weston project will install traffic lights and reduce the speed limit on Hindmarsh Drive between Namatjira and Streeton Drives from 80 km/h to 60 km/h.

Weston Creek Community Council chair Bill Gemmell welcomed the Black Spot funding back in April 2022 but said at the time the new lights needed to be synchronised with others along Hindmarsh, which is a main artery and prone to peak-time traffic jams.

Between Streeton Drive and Melrose Drive there are five sets of traffic lights, two of which are recent additions for the same reasons as the Weston project, which will make six.

It remains Mr Gemmell’s biggest concern, but he can’t see any other solution to a problem that has only been getting worse.

But at least if the lights were synchronised from the beginning there would be a smoother run, particularly in peak times, he said.

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He had suggested a roundabout but was told there was not enough land for that to be practicable.

Mr Gemmell said one of the main issues with the intersection was the poor line of sight, turning right out of Brierly into Hindmarsh into a slip lane as traffic came down the hill.

“They’ve got to do something to stop the traffic coming down at 80 km/h or more,” he said.

“If you’re going to Stirling and Chapman you’re doing a left turn soon after you cross and it gets really problematic. It’s got to be controlled better.”

As well, drivers turning into Brierly underestimate the speed of oncoming traffic or fail to see vehicles coming out of Brierly.

Mr Gemmell said there had been a lot of accidents and crashes with injuries over the years.

As of last April 2022, there had been 21 collisions, seven causing injuries, in five years, according to the Black Spot data.

“A lot of it is a product of the design and increased density – as the area’s grown we need to take more care because there is more traffic using it,” Mr Gemmell said.

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Black Spot funding of $932,300 was allocated to the Weston project.

It is one of four similar projects – the intersection of Isabella Drive and Benham Street in Chisholm; Phillip Avenue and Windeyer Street in Downer; and Limestone Avenue, Treloar Crescent and Euree Street in Campbell.

Other intersections slated for traffic lights in Weston Creek are Namatjira and Streeton Drives in Stirling and Heysen Street and Streeton Drive in Weston.

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I think this will be a great step forward in safety – especially for older drivers who deserve a better driving environment in the valley. 80km/hr highways and suburban rat runs through Weston Creek should be things of the past if we value our living environment.

Ross of Canberra8:10 pm 04 May 23

Incommutable. (Read as incomputable in a driver’s sense.)
‘Synchronised’ in the ACT means you’ll get what you get. If it ain’t sychronised, it’s the same as all the rest. Apparently we harness a major (and costly) internationally-developed sytem to achieve this level of incommutability.
Traffic lights? Hindmarsh Drive (ref. Canberra Times 1999) descends further into Hindmarsh Crawl. Look what they achieved with the Drakeford off-ramp onto Hindmarsh. So many morning commuter delghts!
Now to this Weston ‘black spot’. Never in 15 years have I seen anything more than an annoying delay. Traffic lights will equate to delays for all, even when there’s no oncoming traffic.
Oh, it’s Ian Bushell again with his intended or not hyperbole.
And, multiple speed zone changes: guys, can you back out and let a thinking person fix this?

Will soon be, perhaps, the first major road to have a traffic light at every intersection. Pathetic.

Whether there’s enough land or not is irrelevant. The reason a roundabout would not work is that it would be a 3-way r’about with a ‘minor’ road joining a major road and Streeton traffic would still have the same problem. The only change would be black circles on those G-Way signs !….3-way r’abouts only work with two minor roads joining. But guess what the REAL reason for these collisions (not ‘accidents’ ) is ?…..too many people impatient to get somewhere showing poor judgement.

They should have closed this intersection full stop. There are other safer ways to get out of Weston Creek.

Really… incompetent, unalert drivers cause accidents at that intersection. Another case of dumbing down to the lowest common denominator!

Yep. Russian roulette? No way, I always look before I pull out.
And turning right you have a lane to stop in to check again for westbound traffic – unless you just blitz across all the lanes (like a lot of people do), it’s actually quite safe being able to make the turn in two stages.

I’m sure that ALL traffic lights in Canberra are synchronised ………………………… to turn red just as you get to them.

I’m a great believer in the 80/20 rule and numerous variations thereof. After more than 60yrs driving ‘all over’, I’m convinced they’re set to trap 80% of vehicles in every direction.

The actual problem they need to fix is that Cooleman Court has been doing double-duty serving Weston Creek and Molonglo for too long. When Molonglo finally gets shops, a lot of pressure will come off Cooleman Court.
Interestingly, simply lowering the speed limit past this intersection has made enough difference that I wonder whether the traffic lights are necessary.

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