Accidents double at lights
Traffic lights placed at the “worst intersection in the Pilbara” to improve safety seem to have made matters worse with the frequency of reported accidents doubling since their installation.
There have been 10 recorded crashes at the Dampier Highway and De Witt Road intersection since lights were installed in August, 2015, including one last week between two vehicles.
Jon Wilson, who was in one of the cars involved in the crash last week, said the intersection needed a complete redesign.
“In our case we were lucky, we are at work today but there is $100k worth of vehicle written off in a second,” he said. “It could have been much worse.
“Most of the time the turning arrow isn’t illuminated so you’ve got to take the risk as to whether you will make that right-hand turn.
“It is inherently dangerous for the fact that from what others told us ... there are times where you are staring directly into the sun.”
A Main Roads WA spokeswoman noted no formal notification of any crashes had been received since mid-July and 2016 figures were pending review.
This means last week’s crash and potentially one more single vehicle accident were not included in the figure mentioned above.
From 2009-2014, Main Roads WA data shows there were 28 registered crashes, an average of about 5.5 incidents per year.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long would not be drawn on whether he believed the intersection needed another redesign.
“The City is confident that the lights installed at the Dampier Highway and De Witt Road intersection are the most appropriate way of managing this intersection safely with efficient traffic flow,” he said.
“As always, we urge motorists to drive with care and abide by traffic rules and signals at all times to help prevent accidents.” Mr Wilson said a large entrance roundabout like those in Mt Barker and Albany to divert non-local traffic from the town centre would improve safety.
On a positive note, Mr Wilson said those who attended the scene to help out had been fabulous.
Mr Wilson encouraged locals to speak up to improve the intersection, as well as the North West Coastal Highway turn-off, to make Karratha a more attractive place to drive into.