RMS meeting held at ESC Chambers on 12th Jan 2017 to discuss safety upgrade to T intersection Princes Highway & Hector McWilliam Drive. Initially it was going to be an on-site meeting however the RMS advised that, due to the intersection being a high traffic it would be best to meet at Council chambers. It is also understood that the date of the upcoming meeting was well known known and, as such, it may have attracted outsiders to attend the on-site meeting. With that in mind the convenor (RMS) made it clear that only two Tuross Head representatives would be welcomed to the meeting.
Nathan Boscaro – RMS
Mayor Liz Innes
Deputy Mayor Anthony Mayne
Councillor Rob Pollock
Warren Sharpe, OAM – Director of Infrastructure Services
David Hunter ESC Roads & Traffic Committee
Gary Cooper – President Tuross Head Progress Association (THPA)
John Tilbrook – Vice President and acting Secretary THPA
John Haslem – (former Federal Member for Canberra) and representing The Hon Ann Sudmalis, MP Federal Member for Gilmore Chair of NSW Roads Black Spot Committee.
The RMS contacted the Secretary Tuross Head Progress Association (THPA) on 13th Jan 2017 (the day after) and pointed out that, as they were the convenors of the subject meeting, they would compile the formal minutes of the meeting and release any necessary media statements on the topic in due course. The RMS then invited the Secretary of the THPA to submit their summation of the main points and its understanding of the outcome of the meeting. Accordingly the THPA account of the meeting is as follows compiled by John Tilbrook, Vice President of THPA and acting Secretary.
Points of the RMS Meeting Jan 12th, 2017, to be recorded.
John Tilbrook THPA addressed the meeting putting forward concerns of the Tuross community about the dangers faced around the clock for road users transiting that intersection.
John Tilbrook tabled the diagram depicted below to illustrate the suggested road treatment upgrade which is based on the seagull wing traffic design in place at the Island Point Road leading to Basin View & St Georges Basin.
Above The THPA diagram to illustrate suggested road safety measures at the T Intersection which was rejected by RMS.
RMS responded to the THPA submission stating that their department’s experience has shown that seagull wing traffic flow designs have their shortfalls in safety and do not necessarily reduce/eradicate tail end or head on crashed.
The RMS preferred road designs of the future - which is to have underpasses at main highway intersections so as to phase out right hand turning in any direction from major roads against fast approaching traffic (aka example of Carcoar on the New England Highway). That is to say no cross-traffic right hand turns where there is the danger of head on or T-bone collision. In that regard the THPA was encouraged to continue pursue the Petition implemented by Ann Sudmalis MP for specific road funding grants to be utilised in improving road traffic treatments or complete road reconstruction works.
Notwithstanding the open debate on the aging demography of Tuross, with more than 50% of the village population being over 50 years of age and having the oldest demography in the Shire; the RMS policy is, and remains, wherever the safety margins permit, that the 100 kph speed limit on the Princes Highway is to be retained, and that the Tuross intersection is considered by the RMS to be well within the defined tolerance apropos visual sighting and adequate safe manoeuvre distances ( as determined by algorithm analysis).
RMS then advised a short term solution to improve safety at the Hector McWilliam Drive & Princes Highway T intersection.
RMA tabled a colour satellite image with intended signage & road marking shown hereunder. It was promised by RMS that they would acquire the necessary funding within this current financial year FY16/17, and that all of the defined work as outlined below would be completed this financial year (sic prior to 30 Jun 17)
Summary of SHORT TERM TREATMENT Improvements notified, negotiated or agreed at the RMS meeting chaired by Nathan Boscaro Jan 12th, 2017.
1. 100 kph on Princes Highway transiting the Hector McWilliam Drive intersection is to remain (no reduction from 100 kph to 80 kph as was requested by THPA).
2. A large T Intersection Warning Sign (Prepare to Stop) is to be erected ASAP on southern side of Hector McWilliam Drive approaching the T Intersection stop signs.
3. A large STOP sign is to be erected ASAP at T junction with the Princes Highway.
4. A large white STOP Line road marking is to be introduced in the Hector McWilliam right hand exit lane, but situated further west into the Princes Highway verge in order to improve road user vision in both directions, so as to observe fast approaching traffic from both the south and the north. This action is particularly aimed at improving driver judgement as to the when it is safe to commence a right-hand turn manoeuvre to head north on Princes Highway.
5. White shudder bars are to be applied to the road surface on the left hand lane (south side) of Hector McWilliam approaching the T intersection to warn drivers to slow down and prepare to Stop. The bars will physically alert Drivers by vibration and sound in times of poor viability (by day or during hours of darkness) due to fog, low cloud or smoke which is often experienced in the area, especially in winter. A central clear lane will be incorporated into the row of shudders bars to cater for safe road use by motor cyclists.
6. The solid white road marking for the left hand turn lane out of Hector McWilliam to merge with the south bound Princes Highway lane will be extended in length to allow necessary deceleration and acceleration of merging vehicles exiting from Tuross.
7. Following RMS monitoring of the traffic flow at the T intersection, it is planned to construct a concrete medium strip as depicted on the RMS image. This will help to define the STOP white line, and more importantly the median will stop those vehicles turning right into Tuross from the south from cutting the corner and entering into Hector McWilliam Drive which is currently a prevalent occurrence.
8. THPA raised the issue of the poor corrugated and broken road pavement at the entrance to Hector McWilliam Drive, particularly the left lane entrance into Tuross alongside the ad-hoc carpooling car park. Warren Sharpe spoke for the ESC and, in consultation with the RMS, he indicated that they would look at resurfacing this small section with asphalt, as opposed to present bitumen tar road surface treatment.
9. The present ad-hoc Bus passengers drop off and pick up point and truck unloading zone which is located on the shoulder of the Princes Highway immediately after the Hector McWilliam Drive turnoff (south eastern side) is to be redesigned and redefined so as not to impede road user vision from drivers of vehicles exiting right out of Hector McWilliam Drive. When large vehicles are parked in that position for periods of up to 30 minutes drivers are not able to sight fast approaching traffic appearing over the crest from the south. The following photograph demonstrates the prevalence of such activity and the impact it has on road safety.
Above: Passenger bus parked on shoulder of Princes Highway blocking drivers view of fast approaching traffic travelling north on the Princes Highway appearing over the crest of the hill to the south.
10. The Hector McWilliam Drive road sign that is depicted in the photograph above has been installed at a height which impairs the ‘’line of sight’’ vision of drivers exiting Tuross from observing fast moving traffic from the south. It was requested by the THPA that this sign should be repositioned 5 metres further to the east atop of the left embankment, or if retained, the sign should be raised 1 meter higher than its current elevation.
11. It was put forward by Warren Sharpe that, to improve driver visibility approaching the Hector McWilliam Drive turnoff and bus shelter from the north the RMS should take early action to have all roadside reserve vegetation completely removed from western side of the highway. That is all trees and shrubbery from the existing Bus Shelter and northwards until reaching Coila Creek Road. This would vastly improve driver visibility for traffic travelling south when rising over the crest of the hill approaching the Hector McWilliam turnoff with its road signage and bus stop. In particular it would improve visibility at a much greater distance for bus passengers, most being elderly, attempting to cross the highway carrying baggage.
The Tuross Head Progress Association will now be following up with RMS regarding the timing for the staged work increments now planned to ensure all the promised road treatments are completed for the Hector McWilliam Drive T intersection before 30 Jun 17. The Stop sign, the big T sign and white Stop line will be installed within a fortnight. RMS then want to monitor the traffic flow for a period before designing the size and shape of the median strip to be constructed at the end of Hector McWilliam Drive for right turn road users.
John Tilbrook of the THPA advised The Beagle “We will push for the white shudder bars to be applied to the road surface for a short distance at the end of Hector McWilliam Drive approaching the T intersection with the Princes Highway so as to alert drivers by vibration & sound that they need to be vigilant in stopping at the T intersection and exiting from Hector McWilliam Drive.” “This is particularly relevant in warning heavy trucks, articulated trucks and vehicles towing boat trailers, caravans or trailers recreational”
"Before the white lines are painted on the road it is hoped that the RMS and the ESC work in concert so that the promised re-sealing of the end/entrance to Hector McWilliam Drive takes place before they apply white lines to the road surface."