By CASEY NEILL
Notorious ‘spaghetti junction’ chaos set for safety shake-up…
VICTORIA’S worst black spot is set for a safety shake-up after 30 years of chaos.
The Springvale Junction – where Princes Highway meets Police, Centre and Springvale roads – recorded 62 casualty crashes between January 2009 and last December.
VicRoads regional director Aidan McGann said this was almost double the second highest figure and that 23 of those casualties were classified as serious.
“That’s hospitalisation with a potentially life-changing injury,” he said.
Mr McGann heard about the junction when he was appointed to his role a year ago.
“The intersection hasn’t really seen a major change for 30 years,” he said.
“We know people have avoided the intersection for a long time.
“Pedestrians are saying it’s a scary place to walk. They realise that car drivers are very distracted by everything they’ve got to look out for.
“If a crash occurs at the intersection it’s very challenging for police and emergency services to manage if the traffic lights are out.
“The more I discovered about it the more I realised we needed to do something about it.
“The best way to do that was to share the dilemma with everyone.
“In sharing the dilemma we share the capacity to bring good ideas to bear.”
So VicRoads has established the Springvale Junction Working Group, featuring community members and representatives from VicRoads, councils, Victoria Police, the TAC, Public Transport Victoria and more.
“We could have just assumed the problems and come up with some ideas,” Mr McGann said.
“They can tell us what their concerns are and then offer suggestions about options.
“We’re very open to what those ideas might be.
“There is no solution that will hit every point perfectly.”
He said VicRoads needed to know what the intersection’s users could live with and what had to change – particularly local residents.
“They’re hearing the crashes, they’re experiencing the closures, they’re seeing the mop-up,” he said.
“We’re getting useful information about which of the turning movements are the ones that are causing people the most grief – the delays, people not complying with road rules.”
Possible solutions on the table so far include turn bans, changes to signal timing, closing roads and a giant roundabout.
Mr McGann said an overpass or underpass were the most enduring ideas but they would require a large amount of land, time and money.
“There’s some appeal to it, but the challenge with over and under is that it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem,” he said.
“You’re removing two legs, but you’re still left with a big intersection with all the same challenges you’re facing.
“We’ll be coming back in March with what we think is the most promising idea and will have a conversation with the community.”
With community endorsement, VicRoads would then make a business case and seek government support.
Visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au or email email@example.com to contribute to the discussion.