Extra turn lane may cause jams


CONTRACTORS working for VicRoads returned to the task of constructing a second right-hand turn lane at Mornington’s busiest intersection last week after a delay of about five weeks due to “an issue with traffic signal hardware”, as VicRoads told the shire council.

But this might be only a small glitch as residents are predicting the new turning lane could cause a traffic jam at the Nepean Highway end of Main St, the town’s main north–south artery and shopping strip.

After completion of the work, three lanes of traffic will be turning into Main Street’s single northbound lane – two from the Mt Eliza direction and one from Mt Martha.

Mornington resident Paul Smith is among those predicting traffic chaos, especially on busy days such as during the warmer months and on market day, Wednesday.

He says the highway end of Main St should be a clearway, which would create a second lane. “There’s been an incredible increase in traffic in the town in recent years,” he said. “We’re in danger of becoming even more choked because Mornington is such an attractive place to live and work, and also attracts thousands of daytrippers.”

He said the ring road needed to be completed to alleviate traffic congestion.

Mornington Peninsula Shire’s communications manager Todd Trimble told The News there were no plans to make Main St into two lanes. “It’s probably almost impossible to do due to physical and topographical constraints,” he said.

It’s now common knowledge among residents that Main St is to be avoided at certain times, especially market day when parking is at a premium.

Back on the highway, workers are putting the finishing touches to the second turning lane. VicRoads decided to install it to remove dangerous “tail backs”, when vehicles queueing at the lights stretch back into the outside running lane. The single slip lane was extended a couple of years ago but is now insufficient at busy times, a measure of the town’s growth.

The work is expected to finish next week.                                                                          

First published in the Mornington News – 19 May 2015


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