Round­about U-turn

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

THE min­utes of a meet­ing about the safety au­dit of the Port Dou­glas Rd-Cap­tain Cook High­way in­ter­sec­tion shows the Depart­ment of Main Roads thinks a round­about is a good idea af­ter all.

At a Road Safety Traf­fic and Trans­port Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Septem­ber 12, sev­eral Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil (CRC) of­fi­cers and DMR dis­cussed the progress of the au­dit.

In the min­utes, DMR’s Michael Ringer ad­vo­cated for a round­about, ad­vis­ing the meet­ing that DMR will be putting in a sub­mis­sion to its Bris­bane head of­fice for a round­about for the in­ter­sec­tion “but this could take some time”.

Mr Ringer re­fused to dis­cuss his rec­om­men­da­tion with the Gazette this week, with DMR’s me­dia li­ai­son di­rec­tor Robert Hoge re­hash­ing the line wheeled out by the depart­ment last week that “the au­dit con­cluded traf­fic sig­nals or a round­about wouldn’t be suit­able in the short-term due to low traf­fic vol­umes”.

“Rec­om­men­da­tions from the safety au­dit in­clud­ing changes to sig­nage, line-mark­ing and veg­e­ta­tion re­moval will oc­cur in the next four weeks,” he said.

“But the au­dit did rec­om­mend we progress plan­ning to­wards a long-term so­lu­tion to cater for pro­jected growth in traf­fic, which may in­clude a po­ten­tial round­about or traf­fic lights.”

Mr Hoge said plans for a round­about were not in­cluded as a rec­om­men­da­tion in the safety au­dit so money could be spent else­where.

“The safety au­dit in­di­cated new in­fra­struc­ture wasn’t needed in the short-term there­fore fund­ing wouldn’t pri­ori­tised over other cur­rent projects in the re­gion,” he said.

“A de­tailed process will soon start to iden­tify pos­si­ble fu­ture so­lu­tions and staged op­tions that will be needed in the fu­ture to cater for this pop­u­la­tion growth - I don’t have spe­cific dates.”

Port Dou­glas Fire Sta­tion’s aux­il­lary cap­tain Louie Leone has had to use the jaws of life at sev­eral ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents at the in­ter­sec­tion and be­lieves more sub­stan­tial changes are needed.

“We at­tended many car crashes and are al­ways look­ing at the cause of why and I agree with the hu­man er­ror fac­tor,” he said.

“But not to do any­thing about it . . . maybe widen it a lit­tle bit more, have the left turn south bound into Port ear­lier and a merg­ing lane, so no give way.

“I re­ally can’t com­ment on the 13 crashes they claimed in the au­dit, but per­son­ally, it feels like a lot more.”

“It is pos­si­ble the de­vice had been dis­lodged dur­ing the cy­clone which ren­dered the wire vir­tu­ally in­vis­i­ble to the pi­lot.

“The helicopter was to­tally de­stroyed on im­pact and the pi­lot and three pas­sen­gers were lucky to es­cape with their lives al­beit they were all se­ri­ously in­jured with con­firmed spinal in­juries and all have un­der­gone surgery since.”

The Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash and will re­lease its re­port in De­cem­ber.

Photo by TOM LEE

Ac­ci­dent: in­ves­ti­ga­tors ex­am­ine the crash scene in June

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