Fix­ing up our roads in a pinch

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SAUCE - MI­RANDA WOOD

THESE are the lit­tle fixes on roads the state gov­ern­ment claims are sav­ing some drivers as much as 15 hours a year be­hind the wheel.

In the past six years, 163 projects have been car­ried out un­der the just­com­pleted $225 mil­lion Pinch Point pro­gram, fix­ing up many no­to­ri­ous bot­tle­necks.

Dozens more will be re­moved over the next eight years un­der two fur­ther pro­grams, each worth $300 mil­lion, as the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues its war on con­ges­tion.

An anal­y­sis by the Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices of road­works at one ma­jor in­ter­sec­tion at Cabra­matta cal­cu­lated mo­torists would re­duce their travel time by 15 hours each year.

An­other up­grade in south­west Syd­ney was ex­pected to cut the an­nual com­mute by eight hours.

Other projects in­cluded fix­ing 62 clogged in­ter­sec­tions, in­stalling 68 CCTV cam­eras to mon­i­tor traf­fic and ad­just traf­fic light phas­ing and 33 elec­tronic mes­sage signs to pro­vide re­al­time up­dates on traf­fic snarls.

NSW Roads Min­is­ter Melinda Pavey said the up­grades to con­gested traf­fic hot spots, or pinch points, are help­ing drivers get “home ear­lier”.

“We need to try and re­lieve some of that pres­sure be­cause it not only costs fam­i­lies, it costs the econ­omy,” she said. “The more ef­fi­cient you make trav­el­ling times, the bet­ter it is for the state, which is why we in­vested money in it.”

A re­cent re­port by the Aus­tralian Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion found av­er­age speeds on Syd­ney’s con­gested roads had dropped by 3.6 per cent in the past five years to 58.2km/h.

Ms Pavey said the de­mand on the Syd­ney road net­work was “huge”.

“Our week­end traf­fic fig­ures are as busy as most week­days now,” she said.

“If we hadn’t in­vested in pinch points, I would hate to think what it would be like.”

Up­grades planned in­clude Cen­ten­nial Ave at Lane Cove West, Par­ra­matta and Shaftes­bury roads at Bur­wood and Church and Parkes streets, Par­ra­matta.

Ju­lianne Hors­man, 34, said she trav­els through a num­ber of pinch points on her way to work in the city from Camp­bell­town.

“I avoid driv­ing to work at all costs,” Ms Hors­man, who works at Rac­ing NSW, said. “At the mo­ment I would rather drive to Gunda­gai than to the city in peak-hour traf­fic.”

Par­ra­matta MP Ge­off Lee said an up­grade to a dan­ger­ous stretch of road in his elec­torate had im­proved safety.

“For Pen­nant Hills Rd and Mars­den Rd, there hasn’t been a se­ri­ous crash at that in­ter­sec­tion since the com­ple­tion of works in 2016,” he said.

Pic­ture: David Swift

Ju­lianne Hors­man avoids driv­ing in Syd­ney be­cause of heavy traf­fic. HOWMUCH CH TIMECAN YOUSAVE?dai­lytele­gra

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