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.
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.
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.
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.