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January 18, 2010

Lake Tyers Beach residents are seeking an independent safety assessment of a controversial intersection after VicRoads defended works which have been carried out at the site.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said he had been inundated with letters, emails and phone calls from residents who believed that the attempt to upgrade the intersection of Lake Tyers Beach Rd and the Princes Highway near Lakes Entrance had created a potential accident black spot.

“I’ve been contacted by about 80 residents who have expressed their concerns with the remodelling of the intersection which has removed the ‘Y’ style merging lane and replaced it with a ‘T’ intersection,” Mr Chester said.

“Regular users of the road believe the intersection is more dangerous now than it was before and residents want to meet with VicRoads officials urgently to discuss ways to improve the safety of the corner.

“I recently met with 20 residents on site and they requested an independent assessment of the intersection to consider all safety issues.

“I have written to VicRoads to repeat the resident’s request for a meeting and to seek support for a full assessment of the intersection.”

Mr Chester said that VicRoads Chief Executive Gary Liddle had responded to his earlier correspondence and claimed the remodelling at the intersection had improved safety for motorists.

“VicRoads is currently finalising road safety improvement works at this intersection as part of the State Government’s Grey Spot Program,” Mr Liddle wrote in his letter.

“Safety improvement works under this program aim to reduce crash risk and prevent crashes before they occur.

“Squaring of this intersection will encourage drivers to slow down to observe traffic travelling east and west on the Princes highway before entering the intersection from Lake Tyers Beach Rd. In addition, some of the hill side on the north on the Princes Highway has been trimmed back to improve driver visibility from Lake Tyers Beach Rd.

“The inclusion of a concrete apron (mountable concrete slab) has been constructed as part of the upgrade works. Large vehicles can drive over the apron as required to assist with their left turn movement from Lake Tyers Beach Rd onto the Princes Highway. This means that they have no need to cross into opposing traffic lanes.”

Mr Chester agreed that trimming the hillside had improved visibility but said the new ‘T’ intersection and mountable concrete slab was extremely unpopular with motorists.

“Forcing drivers towing boats, caravans and horse floats or those in trucks and buses to mount a kerb to turn onto the Princes Highway is a poor solution,” Mr Chester said.

“We now have a situation where these slow moving vehicles will be at a virtual standing start as they move onto the highway where the legal speed is 100km/h.

“VicRoads should take the opportunity to meet with local residents and learn first hand how the changes to the intersection are creating dangerous situations on a daily basis.”