Near-miss prompts school road safety move

Ebony Swetman
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File picture

A businessman has created an online petition asking for a safer way for students at Karratha Senior High school to cross Dampier Highway after he experienced a near-miss.

Robin Vandenberg created the petition to install traffic lights in front of the school after two young students ran across the highway in front of him and he was forced to brake suddenly.

He said the campus attracted pedestrian traffic all day because of the new recreation centre, so permanent lights would create the safest crossing.

"I think traffic lights are the solution. Main Roads is looking at making it a school zone with flashing lights, but the problem is the Leisureplex doesn't just open for school hours," he said.

Mr Vandenberg believes residents would be willing to put up with traffic lights in front of the school, as he considered allowing a safe crossing for students to be more important than a faster highway. He hopes that once the petition is full, it will be taken to Member for the Pilbara Brendon Grylls and discussed in Parliament. Shire of Roebourne chief executive Chris Adams said the Shire took road safety around schools seriously and had worked with Main Roads WA to ensure the safety of the students since the school opened.

"Although the design of the crossing to KSHS is consistent with the Guidelines for Road Safety Around Schools … speeds on Dampier Highway …. have warranted more investigation to enhance safety in the area," he said.

A Main Roads WA spokeswoman said they were continuing to work with the Shire and the Karratha Senior High School to assess the situation.

"Main Roads is undertaking video surveillance of the area, collecting detailed information on vehicle and pedestrian movements on Dampier Highway adjacent to the high school and Leisureplex," she said. "The information obtained will be used in determining an effective treatment solution for this location.

Karratha Senior High School principal Greg Kelly said crossing the highway safely had been discussed at the school, with students and parents given the information in the classroom, at assemblies and through the school newsletter.

He said he often watched students crossing the highway and had so far been confident of their ability to cross safely.

"I'm pleased with what I've seen, and the number of students we've identified walking or riding their bikes to school has decreased due to heat," he said.

To view the petition visit www.thepetitionsite.com/768/778/616/create-a-safe-crossing-for-children-crossing-dampier-highway .