Blinded by the light
Smith St’s western sun among GC crash hotspots
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.”