ARARAT - The Gordon Street/Barkly Street intersection will be upgraded to improve traffic movement and safety at the intersection.
Ararat Rural City Council agreed to investigate funding options for the estimated $40,000 upgrade within the current financial year budget.
Council's officers received a request to investigate the intersection of Barkly and Gordon streets following a spate of recent accidents at this location.
The Barkly and Gordon Street intersection is the entrance to the Gordon Street Industrial Estate and sees a mix of light and heavy vehicles, including B Doubles, using the intersection.
VicRoads' crash statistics data, as shown in the Ararat Rural City Community Road Safety Strategy, shows no significant collisions at the Gordon and Barkly Street intersection. In comparison to the other intersecting streets along Barkly Street the collision data is very low.
Council officers also had discussions with the Ararat Police in regards to collisions at this location and were advised the collisions the police had attended were caused by driver error with the motorists exiting Gordon Street failing to give way.
The existing intersection has the give way markings for Gordon Street placed in line with the kerb and channel of Barkly Street and this appears to make it difficult for motorists to see to the right when legally behind the give way markings. Parked vehicles and existing trees contribute to the visibility concerns. The parked vehicles and trees in the road reserve of Barkly Street restrict the site distance triangle recommended for car stopping sight distances and safe intersection site distances in accordance with VicRoads Road Design Guidelines.
A range of options were presented to council for consideration, with the option chosen by council involving constructing kerb extensions in Barkly Street to bring Gordon Street motorists further out into Barkly Street and centre medians in Gordon Street.
"This is an extremely busy intersection, it carries basically all the traffic from the Gordon Street industrial estate, particularly mornings afternoons, lunchtime and knock off times," Cr Paul Hooper said, also pointing out that it carries heavy vehicle traffic.
"I have had a phone call from a neighbouring resident and had a good look at that intersection...the traffic moves a long way into Barkly street because of trees and the design of the intersection. There's been quite a few close calls and accidents over a period of time and given the volume of traffic and the seriousness of some of the incidents that have taken place I think this is a job we need to get on with."
Cr Fay Hull agreed and said it was something council need to do as soon as possible.
"I know it is not that long since we adopted our budget and to add additional expenditure into the budget at this point in time is probably not ideal in what we would like to do, however, the staff have assured us that they will be able to find savings within the budget," she said.
"I think that given the high accident incident and the risk of serious accidents occurring at that intersection, we wouldn't forgive ourselves if we delayed proceeding with these works and something happens that we would not be able to live with.
"It is important we do it now without delay."
Cr Gwenda Allgood spoke against the motion and said she was on the Road Safety Committee and this particular intersection had 'never come up'.
"I really don't think that it's fair that we're spending $40,000 outside the budget in such a short space of time," she said.
"I think it is terribly wrong, I think there's other things we could have done, maybe stop people from parking so close to the intersection."