The West

Changes cut roundabout danger
Changes cut roundabout danger

Changes to the Eelup Roundabout have stripped it of its title as the worst intersection in WA, cutting the amount of recorded crashes by more than two thirds.

The $16 million upgrade included eight sets of lights at the infamous roundabout, which were switched onin May.

Main Roads WA director of South West operations Brett Belstead said after receiving sceptical views from members of the community, the changes had worked better than expected.

‘‘Apart from the fact we know there’s less crashes, there’s also less congestion,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s definitely a lot safer for road users as well as cyclists and pedestrians who cross over.’’

Prior to the upgrades there were 688 crashes recorded over a five-year period up to the end of 2011, which averaged out to about three per week.

This was nearly double the number of crashes recorded at the second worst intersection in WA, at Tonkin Highway and Horrie Miller Drive in Perth.

Mr Belstead said there had been about one crash a week recorded since the installation of the lights.

The type of crashes recorded were rear-ends and side-swipes, which Mr Belstead hopes will stop once people get used to the changes on the roundabout.

‘‘We get people who are in the left lane and trying to turn all the way around,’’ he said.

‘‘But we hope that when people get used to the roundabout and where they need to be, we will have hardly any crashes at all.’’

Mr Belstead said while the intersection was definitely better, it was not one of the best.

‘‘Going by current figures we will still have about 50 crashes a year, which means it’s still in the top 10 worst intersections,’’ he said.

Future developments include the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Koombana and Estuary drives, which is expected to start in the next few days.

The plans for the flyover — which would run from Sandridge Road to the Australind Bypass — have also been discussed but will not be considered for at least 10 years.

‘‘We’ve designed it (the flyover) so it can be built with minimum impact to the roundabout as it is but it won’t be considered until we have enough traffic on the intersection,’’ Mr Belstead said.

‘‘Some of that money is already coming from Royalties for Regions and when you look historically at when Labor is in power, regional roads go backwards big time.’’

Mr Grylls said a number of Labor’ssuggestions had already been implemented by the Government.

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