No need for round­about

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

AS I live north of Port Dou­glas, I drive through the trou­ble­some Cook High­way/ Port Dou­glas in­ter­sec­tion of­ten on my way south, and feel com­pelled to put in my two cents worth on this is­sue.

Sev­eral friends and I have all ex­pe­ri­enced north­bound driv­ers who are turn­ing into Port Dou­glas at that in­ter­sec­tion turn­ing dan­ger­ously across in front of us as we pro­ceed south, in one in­stance miss­ing a po­ten­tially se­ri­ous col­li­sion by mere cen­time­tres.

How­ever, I do not be­lieve that the col­li­sions and near-misses at that in­ter­sec­tion war­rant a round­about, or, worse, a set of petrol-guz­zling traf­fic lights.

The is­sue here is one of south­bound traf­fic be­ing un­sighted by the north­bound turn­ing traf­fic, and/or of the north­bound turn­ing driver mis­in­ter­pret­ing the sig­nals he is re­ceiv­ing about south­bound traf­fic.

These two is­sues arise, in the first in­stance by the very poor place­ment of a "Keep Left" sign on the cen­tre me­dian on the north side of the in­ter­sec­tion, which ef­fec­tively blocks the view of on­com­ing south­bound traf­fic to the north­bound turn­ing driver, and in the sec­ond in­stance by the poorly thought-out con­struc­tion of the south­bound traf­fic left turn lane into Port Dou­glas which siphons south­bound left-turn­ing traf­fic off the high­way proper and re­quires them to give way to north­bound turn­ing traf­fic.

This sends a mes­sage to the north­bound turn­ing driver that all south­bound traf­fic has moved off the high­way into the left turn lane and/or that all south­bound traf­fic must give way to north­bound turn­ing traf­fic.

I would rec­om­mend three changes at this in­ter­sec­tion:

Re­move the “Keep Left” sign from the cen­tre me­dian on the north­bound side of the in­ter­sec­tion to al­low an unim­peded view of traf­fic ap­proach­ing from the north to traf­fic turn­ing into Port Dou­glas.

Place a “Give Way to On­com­ing Traf­fic” sign at or near the en­trance to the right turn lane, so that north­bound traf­fic turn­ing into Port Dou­glas gets a clear mes­sage about traf­fic pri­or­i­ties as they com­mence their right turn pro­ce­dure.

And put the south­bound traf­fic turn­ing into Port Dou­glas back on the high­way, in a turn lane clearly part of and con­nected to the high­way, not sep­a­rated from the high­way, and re­in­state the nor­mal obli­ga­tion of north­bound turn­ing traf­fic to give way to that south-bound turn­ing traf­fic.

This puts all south­bound traf­fic back on the high­way where it is both more vis­i­ble to the north­bound turn­ing driver and psy­cho­log­i­cally part of the south­bound traf­fic stream, and it re­in­forces the obli­ga­tion of turn­ing traf­fic to give way to all ap­proach­ing traf­fic whether it is turn­ing or not.

These changes could be made both quickly and in­ex­pen­sively, and could con­trib­ute to a safer in­ter­sec­tion very soon.

I am no roads en­gi­neer, but prac­ti­cal­ity and com­mon­sense of­ten trump the­ory, and the de­fi­cien­cies of this in­ter­sec­tion are just one more ex­am­ple of the bu­reau­cratic stu­pid­ity that we see too of­ten in Aus­tralian road de­sign and Aus­tralian

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