New school zone es­tab­lished

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

Kar­ratha au­thor­i­ties are urg­ing res­i­dents to slow down for the new 40km/h school zone on the in­ter­sec­tion of Dampier High­way and Broad­hurst Road or face steep penal­ties.

The new be­fore and af­ter-school speed limit was es­tab­lished at the be­gin­ning of this school term by the City of Kar­ratha in con­sul­ta­tion with Main Roads WA and the Depart­ment of Education.

It comes as the cul­mi­na­tion of years of com­mu­nity con­cern over the safety of stu­dents cross­ing the high-speed main road since the school moved there in 2013.

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School prin­ci­pal Jen­nifer McMa­hon said cross­ing the high­way had long been risky for stu­dents.

“(In the past) it has been re­ally dan­ger­ous for stu­dents due to the speed limit and also the con­fu­sion with some cars stop­ping and some not,” she said.

“The school zone will make a big dif­fer­ence. We are con­stantly work­ing with stu­dents on road safety, as par­ents are, and we mon­i­tor the cross­ing. Hav­ing the re­duced speed will as­sist the safety of all road users and pedes­tri­ans.”

Pil­bara Traf­fic Po­lice Act­ing Sergeant Ian Cliffe said po­lice were mon­i­tor­ing speed­ing in the area and from their ob­ser­va­tions in the first days of the school zone, most driv­ers had not no­ticed the change.

“Many ve­hi­cles had such an ex­ces­sive speed that they have been near to get­ting their ve­hi­cles im­pounded for 28 days and a loss of li­cence for reck­less driv­ing,” he said.

“De­spite it be­ing well-sign­posted, many driv­ers stopped said they were un­aware of the school zone and were used to flash­ing lights, so did not think about them any fur­ther.

“If this con­tin­ues, we can ex­pect nu­mer­ous loss of li­cences from peo­ple who have never had so much as a traf­fic in­fringe­ment pre­vi­ously.”

Driv­ing the usual high­way speed of 70km/h dur­ing school zone times counts as driv­ing 30kmh over the speed limit, which car­ries a penalty of a more than $800 fine and six de­merit points.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the school zone was a pos­i­tive step, and though pedes­trian safety mea­sures could be more ex­ten­sive, other op­tions such as an over­pass or un­der­pass had been turned down by Main Roads and the Education Depart­ment.

The City has ap­plied for fund­ing un­der the Fed­eral and State Govern­ment Black Spot pro­gram for more im­prove­ments to the in­ter­sec­tion.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Pil­bara Traf­fic Po­lice Act­ing Sergeant Ian Cliffe mon­i­tors driver speeds in the new school zone on Dampier High­way.

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