A notorious intersection in Weston is one of four projects to receive Federal Government Black Spot funding.
Liberal ACT Senator Zed Seselja announced the $3.1 million in funding today (19 April), saying it is part of the government’s $1.3 billion commitment to the Black Spot Program from 2013-14 to 2025-26 to improve road safety across the nation.
Senator Seselja, who is also chair of the ACT Black Spot Consultative Panel, said the chosen sites had experienced 26 crashes causing injuries over the past five years.
“The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has found that Black Spot projects reduce the number of crashes causing death and injury by 30 per cent on average,” Senator Seselja said.
The Weston project will install traffic lights at the Hindmarsh Drive/Brierly Street intersection and reduce the speed limit on Hindmarsh Drive between Namatjira and Streeton drives from 80 km/h to 60 km/h.
Over the past five years, there have been 21 collisions, seven causing injury at that location.
Weston Creek Community Council chair Bill Gemmell said the council had been lobbying Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel for action on the intersection for some time and welcomed the news.
Senator Seselja said that speed appeared to be a factor in the crashes at the intersection, particularly when people pulled out from Brierly Street and misjudged how fast vehicles were travelling.
“Just slowing the traffic down a little bit and having some signals will make a really big improvement,” he said.
Mr Gemmell said it was horrid to get out of Brierly Street from Cooleman Court onto Hindmarsh Drive, likening it to playing Russian roulette.
“I know a lot of people who won’t use it,” he said. “They’ll go around to the Namatjira Drive/Streeton Drive intersection, turn left onto Streeton, and go up the hill,” he said.
But Mr Gemmell said the council would like to see the government take more of a coordinated approach when dealing with traffic road safety issues, saying that, at present, it was piecemeal.
“All you’re doing is moving the issue somewhere else,” he said.
Mr Gemmell said the new lights would need to be synchronised with the Street Drive lights.
He said Hindmarsh Drive, with its recently installed traffic lights, was a “bit of a disaster” for peak time commuters because a lack of synchronisation meant considerable delays.
“We’d like to see some better planning and coordination generally,” he said.
The other Black Spot projects include $1,616,200 to install lights and remove the existing signalised pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Limestone Avenue and Treloar Crescent and Euree Street in Campbell, where there have been 25 collisions over the past five years, with seven causing injury.
In Chisholm, $403,800 will be spent banning a right turn for incoming vehicles and providing a right-out turn for emergency vehicles only at the intersection of Isabella Drive and Benham Street, where there have been 21 collisions, seven with injuries.
In Downer, $163,540 will go to providing a right-turn lane with a signal-controlled right turn, a through lane and a marked shoulder in the existing pavement at the intersection of Phillip Avenue and Windeyer Street, where there have been 13 collisions, five causing injury.
Senator Seselja said $14.5 million has been allocated to dangerous black spots through this program across Canberra since the Coalition came to government.
The panel that reviews priorities for the program includes representatives from the NRMA, National Capital Authority, Pedal Power, ACT Motorcycle Riders Association, the Australasian College of Road Safety and Transport Canberra.
Transport Canberra and City Services proposed all of the projects.
An ACT Government spokesperson said that procurement for the design phase of the projects is expected to commence in May. Timeframes for construction were not known at this stage.