Danger road drives poll promises

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IT seems everybody is coming along to the party with promises of money to fix a long-known problem at Rosebud. State Roads Minister Jaala Pulford and Nepean Labor MP Chris Brayne with Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr David Gill provide a photo opportunity. Picture: Yanni

PROMISES to redevelop the Mornington Peninsula’s busiest and most dangerous intersection have come on the eve of a federal election.

The Mornington Peninsula Freeway and Jetty Road intersection – described as the peninsula’s busiest and highest-risk – attracted a staged visit by Roads Minister Jaala Pulford, Nepean Labor MP Chris Brayne and Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors early last month.

Then, last week, Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt rode in with a budget commitment to spend $70 million on safety, noise reduction and an overpass at the intersection which carries more than 40,000 vehicles a day.

The mayor Cr David Gill said the council was “strongly advocating” for money to contribute to a full freeway overpass with grade separation and duplication to Boneo Road.

“We believe that this would be the ultimate solution to all the issues experienced at this intersection,” he said.

Cr Gill said the “confusing” Jetty Road roundabouts had been a longstanding safety concern with vulnerable groups, including elderly residents and children walking to and from schools and childcare centres.

“They are forced to cross the freeway at the most dangerous point,” he said.

“A recent online community survey conducted by the council on traffic congestion on the southern peninsula received over 200 responses indicating the highest priority was to build a full interchange at Jetty Road.”

Cr Gill said the preferred upgrade at the intersection would include a full interchange at Jetty Road to replace roundabouts; overpass; safe pedestrian connection under the overpass; duplication and widening of the 1.8km section between Jetty and Boneo roads; signals at the T-intersection at Boneo Road, and pedestrian-operated signals across Eastbourne Road near Jetty Road.

Mr Hunt said the $70 million – part of “major infrastructure upgrade works in the 2019-20 budget” – would improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety for Rosebud, Dromana and McCrae residents.

He said the federal government would immediately spend $5 million on roundabout metering and pedestrian-operated signals; $5 million on noise-reduction barriers on the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and $60 million on an overpass at Jetty Road.

Nepean MP Chris Brayne said he welcomed the federal government’s “last-minute commitment” for Jetty Road. “It is tangible proof that having a marginal seat is paying dividends for the area,” he said.

“This funding is the direct result of the people’s decision to elect me in November and show that our Mornington Peninsula can’t be taken for granted anymore,” Mr Brayne said. 

“We are, however, cautious that the money allocated in the budget is not scheduled to come into effect for some time. We are also disappointed that only now is tangible action happening on Jetty Road, 18 years into the member for Flinders’ term.”

Flinders Labor candidate Joshua Sinclair said while he “welcomed any sort of roads investment from the Commonwealth here in Flinders, this one comes five minutes to midnight before an election”.

“I think voters will be rightly cynical about this announcement coming just days before an election is called and after nearly a decade of congestion woes at Jetty Road.

“The problem … didn’t appear overnight – it’s only since the state election that the federal member has decided to take interest in it.” 

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 9 April 2019

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