RECENT accidents on the Nepean Highway intersections near The Briars at Mount Martha have raised new concerns about the risks of using the property as a venue for large events.
Opponents of the Harry Potter – Forbidden Forest experience scheduled in April and May say access to The Briars is already difficult and have warned of traffic chaos if improvements are not made before the shows start.
The Harry Potter event is expected to attract around 3000 visitors a night for at least two months.
An accident at the intersection of Nepean Highway and Uralla Drive on 9 January and one at Hopetoun Avenue days later highlighted community concerns about the need for traffic flow improvements.
The intersections are the responsibility of the state government – as is the intersection with Forest Drive, another accident hot spot.
The federal government has committed part of the money for traffic lights at the Forest Drive intersection, with work expected to start within the next few months. Work on Uralla Drive is expected to follow 12 to 18 months after the Forest Drive upgrades.
But local residents say the roads intersecting with Nepean Highway will still be dangerous with the traffic increases from the Harry Potter event.
One resident said turning out of or into Nepean Highway near The Briars was already “a game of Russian roulette”.
“Impatient drivers make silly manoeuvres and risk everyone’s lives trying to get in or out onto Nepean Highway, so it’s going to take a lot more than road widening,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Planning said it welcomes “community feedback about ways we can improve transport connections along the Nepean Highway at Mount Martha”.
“We will work closely with Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forrest event organisers to ensure proper traffic management is in place.”
He said the DOT will work closely with local councils and event organisers to ensure proper traffic management is in place during events.
In the five years to June 2023, there had been no fatal crashes along Nepean Highway at the Forest Drive, Hopetoun Avenue and Uralla Drive intersections.