NT to improve roadworks safety after crash

A Northern Territory government department has agreed to put $1.3 million towards improved safety measures around roadworks to finalise legal action over a road death in 2016.

The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics and a Queensland construction company were both charged over the death of Peter Bonnell, who crashed his motorbike into road barriers set up as part of the Tiger Brennan Drive road project.

The Department had contracted BMD Constructions Ltd to manage the road works, with both charged with failing to comply with health and safety laws.

In a statement on Friday, NT WorkSafe said it had accepted the $1.3 million enforceable undertaking from the department, with the money to provide for a range of measures including extra staff to better scrutinise the traffic management plans of sub-contractors.

It will also review and update standards for road construction and maintenance in relation to barriers, line marking removal, night lighting and positioning of variable message signs to improve clarity and safety for road users.

In a similar undertaking provided in August last year, BMD Constructions agreed to spend about $300,000 on a safety training and awareness package focused on silicosis in the construction industry, mental health and wellbeing and due diligence.

An inquest was held into Mr Bonnell's death in 2018, when Judge Greg Cavanagh found the 43-year-old died instantly from multiple injuries including a fractured skull and a complete rupture of his aorta.

Judge Cavanagh said the sound engineer was drunk when he left the Darwin Hotel to ride home at about 2:14am.

But the judge also found that the diversion, established to move traffic from one side of the road to an adjacent, newly completed, lane was obviously unsafe.

He recommended the NT government consider legislating to require compliance with Australian standards when using traffic control devices and to make it an offence for failure to do so.