Highway black spot ‘needs traffic lights’

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MT Eliza’s Nepean Highway and Tower Rd intersection needs traffic lights or turn restrictions to make it safer, says resident and former shire councillor Leigh Eustace.

Mr Eustace and other residents continue to lobby for improvements at the black spot intersection, which has claimed two lives and seen a number of crashes that have injured drivers and passengers since 2008.

A man in his 70s was killed at the intersection in June 2012 when his car struck the back of a truck that was stationary in the centre median waiting to turn north, having crossed southbound lanes from Tower Rd. The crash occurred at about 7.15am. The median is very narrow and does not have room for larger vehicles to stop halfway across the four-lane highway.

The intersection was back in the news in early December after a crash on the highway near Tower Rd, although it was not caused by turning vehicles.

Police said a man was seriously injured after his car hit a pole near Tower Rd around midnight on 10 December after being struck from behind by a white Honda Prelude. The Honda was found nearby unoccupied and its number plates had been removed. The man was airlifted to The Alfred hospital.

Mr Eustace said he had lobbied for traffic lights while on Mornington Peninsula Shire Council between 2008 and 2012. “There have been petitions and a lot of lobbying about getting that intersection fixed,” he said. “I’ve had mothers ringing me while I was a councillor saying their children had just got their licence and they’re terrified of them using that intersection.”

He said if VicRoads could not afford traffic lights it should ban right-hand turns from Tower Rd and right-hand turns from Volitans Ave, which is opposite Tower Rd.

He said lights at Oakbank Rd, the road that leads to Padua College, had been installed at a cost of more than $1 million in 2009 “so we know lights are expensive”.

Mr Eustace said the shire was about to spend $810,000 for a roundabout on Mt Eliza Way at Wimborne and Kenaud avenues “where there has never been a fatality”. There have been four accidents at the intersection, which is in a 60km/h zone near a 50km/h zone, three involving elderly drivers and one a bicycle rider without lights on a Saturday night.

The shire is in the process of seeking planning approval for the roundabout but work has not yet started.

Fixing the Nepean Hwy-Tower Rd intersection on the 80km/h arterial road would have been better use of the money, he said.

The Mt Eliza Way roundabout was the third most expensive of 10 Victorian roundabouts to receive funding under the federal government’s black spot program last year. Almost $770,000 came from the federal government with the shire paying the balance.

Another expensive roundabout in the shire was the $1.48 million Marine Pde-Hodgins Rd intersection in Hastings completed last year. It is in a 70km/h zone and close to Hastings Primary School.

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