Blinded by the light

Smith St’s western sun among GC crash hotspots

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - PAUL WE­STON

FRUS­TRATED driv­ers are pay­ing a high price try­ing to avoid road­works on the Pa­cific Mo­tor­way with a new re­port re­veal­ing the ma­jor ar­te­ri­als are crash hotspots.

One of them is busy Smith St where mo­torists head­ing west to­wards the junc­tion with the M1 at Gaven have to drive into blind­ing sun in the af­ter­noon peak hours.

A re­port pre­sented to the Gold Coast City Coun­cil trans­port com­mit­tee based on RACQ data shows emer­gency crews at­tended 417 crashes on the city’s ar­te­rial road net­work dur­ing the past fi­nan­cial year com­pared to 366 on the M1.

Sep­a­rate RACQ fig­ures sought by the Bul­letin con­firmed 129 crashes oc­curred along the Smith St con­nec­tion road be­tween 2013 and 2017, of which 88 were “rear en­ders”.

Those fig­ures also re­vealed two peo­ple were killed in road crashes dur­ing that pe­riod on the South­port-Burleigh Rd – the name used for the route along Ferry and Bun­dall roads, and Ber­muda St – with a to­tal of 395 crashes, 245 caused by driv­ers hit­ting the ve­hi­cle in front of them.

The re­port to the coun­cil trans­port group shows 7080 in­ci­dents – a mix of crashes, haz­ards and sta­tion­ary ve­hi­cles – were recorded be­tween July last year and June in the South Coast re­gion.

While 78 per cent of those in­ci­dents were on the M1, most were stan­dard call­outs to help mo­torists with stalled ve­hi­cles.

The crash hotspots were iden­ti­fied for the first time from the RACQ data pre­sented to coun­cil­lors.

They sup­ported ex­ten­sion of the coun­cil’s traf­fic re­sponse unit first in­tro­duced 18 months ago with an­nual fund­ing of $180,000 to be al­lo­cated for the next three years.

The pri­mary pa­trol area ex­cludes the M1, cov­er­ing the high-den­sity cen­tral part of the city from South­port west to Gaven, south from Olsen Ave to Ross St at Car­rara, and along Ber­muda St to Burleigh.

The data shows crashes were con­cen­trated in the north­ern sec­tion of the South­port-Burleigh Rd as it winds through the canal es­tates and also west along Smith Street to­wards the M1 at Gaven

Coun­cil trans­port and in­fras­truc­ture com­mit­tee chair Pauline Young said the pa­trols were work­ing to man­age con­ges­tion on ar­te­rial roads as mo­torists avoided the grid­locked M1 and traf­fic lights on the slower Gold Coast Hwy.

“It’s re­duced the av­er­age (wait­ing) time by about 36 min­utes on each of those small in­ci­dents,” she said.

Bon­ney MP Sam O’Con­nor be­lieves the data shows why a “sec­ond M1” is needed.

RACQ head of tech­ni­cal and safety pol­icy Steve Spald­ing urged mo­torists to move their ve­hi­cles off the road at the first sign of trou­ble and put their haz­ard lights on.

“Check your sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment, get out of the car us­ing the pas­sen­ger side and step as far away as pos­si­ble from pass­ing traf­fic,” he said.

“Of­ten it is safer to get to the other side of the bar­rier if there is one.”

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