Ac­ci­dents dou­ble at lights

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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