Black spot upgrade a failure
“WORSE than ever” is the opinion of some Gympie region residents on the upgrade of the Wide Bay Highway/Bruce Highway intersection.
Dairy farmer Greg Edwards, who lives a few kilometres west of the intersection, says the $500,000 spent by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to improve safety has been a waste of money.
“Half a million dollars and it hasn’t improved it one iota,” Mr Edwards said yesterday.
In particular he has concerns about a series of speed bumps placed on the northbound access lane from Wide Bay Highway onto the Bruce Highway.
He said motorists were now forced to nose right up to the Bruce Highway, come to a stop and then pull out directly onto the highway from a virtual standstill.
The previous lane allowed drivers to merge.
“It was easier and it was safer before because you had a bit of acceleration room,” Mr Edwards said.
“Now you have to stop and if a truck has stopped at the stop sign waiting to turn south it creates a blind spot – it’s very dangerous.”
While The Gympie Times was talking to Mr Edwards, two motorists drove over the speed bumps, presumably to get a view of the approaching traffic on their right.
Rod Klein also questioned the safety of the changes.
“What was required at this intersection was to extend the northbound merging lane and construct a southbound merging lane,” Mr Klein said.
Mr Edwards said another issue was the placement of the light pole on the intersection’s island, which obscures the stop sign to vehicles approaching from the west.
“The speed reduction down to 90kmh had helped a lot,” he said.
“And the turn-in (off the Bruce Highway onto the Wide Bay Highway is an improvement but it hasn’t improved the safety of the southbound right hand turn.”
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said the recently completed $486,000 project involved widening the road surface, installing additional signage on the approach and lighting to improve visibility for motorists at night. The new intersection layout design now meets current Australian standards, the department said.
“Before the upgrade, the old merge lane was too short for vehicles to accelerate and merge safely with highway traffic. The strips have been installed to reinforce to motorists the need to slow down and merge with care.”
“The strips are a traffic control measure to encourage drivers to stay within the traffic lane when turning north on to the Bruce Highway from the Wide Bay Highway.
“The re-modelled left turn lane meets current safety standards and is designed to give drivers a good view of approaching traffic before they turn left on to the highway,” the spokesman said.