Residents want change to dangerous intersection

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Residents want change to dangerous intersection

Turn for the worse: this accident on Friday has sparked renewed calls for changes to the intersection of Beilby”s Road, Gwythers Siding and the South Gippsland Highway.

By Jane Ross
A THREE-car collision just outside Leongatha has local residents fuming that nothing has been done to fix a notorious intersection.
According to those who regularly use it, the intersection of Beilby’s Road with the South Gippsland Highway at Leongatha South is a nightmare.
Residents of the road say they take their lives in their hands whenever they try turning onto or off the highway.
They have petitioned VicRoads to have something done to improve visibility and have asked South Gippland Shire to seal Beilby’s Road.
Nothing has changed.
In the latest incident, three cars were involved in an accident at the intersection on Friday when a northbound utility collided with traffic waiting to turn right from the South Gippsland Highway into Beilby’s Road.
The driver of the utility, a 39-year-old Foster man, may face charges, pending an investigation. A woman from Leongatha and man from Waratah Bay were taken to Leongatha Hospital for treatment.
Leongatha police Sergeant Scott Bodycomb, said the area was not a black spot nor of particular concern to police.
But Heather Douglas who lives on the corner disagrees.
Asked by The Star if the intersection was a bit of a problem, Heather responded, “A bit of a problem? That’s the understatement of the century!”
She said milk tankers, school buses and “huge sand tucks” used Beilby’s Road.
“It is one of the very few, or only major cross roads that isn’t sealed,” she said.
Gwythers Siding, which intersects with the highway opposite Beilby’s Road “is sealed to the creek and it wouldn’t have half the traffic that Beilby’s Road does”.
“We have been trying to have something done about it.”
Heather and her husband Bruce have lived on the corner for four years.
A petition to VicRoads in mid-2006 drawn up by her daughter Karen Davison,  prompted a visit from a VicRoads’ official, but nothing more.
“You take your life in your hands every time you try turning onto the highway,” Heather continued. “You are right on the crest of a hill. They are right on you before they see you.
“The number of times you have to look both ways, you pull out and a vehicle is right on you. People are so intolerant too, they toot and wave but you are going slowly because you have just turned.
“There is no visibility either way.
“You sit there and hold your breath.”
“There have been numerous accidents.”
Told the Leongatha Police did not think the corner was a black spot, Heather declared, “They obviously haven’t pulled out onto the highway (from Beilby’s Road)!”
Russell Hinds has lived on Beilby’s Road all his life. He’s run a trucking business for about 18 years.
To his way of thinking, the biggest problem is the dust off the gravel road. It kicks up so much, visibility is affected.
“There are a lot of close calls.”
The 2006 petition to VicRoads highlighted numerous concerns, the greatest of which was that a serious accident would occur if nothing changed. The approach to the highway from both Beilby’s Road and Gwyther’s Siding were not clear and when turning out of Beilby’s Road, drivers have to edge out onto the highway in order to be able to see what’s coming from Leongatha.
South Gippsland Shire Council won’t be considering Beilby’s Road for sealing within the next four years.
The council is responsible for 1240kms of gravel roads and 793kms of sealed ones.
Infrastructure director Anthony Seabrook said, “With average costs of $350,000 to seal one kilometre of road, it’s just not a reality within our current budget restraints to undertake significant sealing works, so our focus is on cyclical maintenance.”
VicRoads’ Gippsland regional director Patricia Liew, sent a team to inspect the intersection yesterday.
She said she wanted to make sure that the appropriate advance warning signs were in place on the highway to advise motorists of the intersection.
“The stretch of highway through the intersection is also marked with double lines, so drivers can’t overtake in the area.”
Ms Liew said VicRoads would continue to monitor the safety of the intersection and consider whether further work is needed.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=138

Posted by SiteAdmin on Jan 20 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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