By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Drivers are being mired in dangerous congestion just north-east of Springvale train station, Greater Dandenong councillor Sean O’Reilly says.
Five years after the Springvale Road boom gates were removed, cars are banked up while trying to perform right-hand turns on Lightwood Avenue and Springvale Road at peak times.
In May, a driver was killed exiting Rosalie Street onto Springvale Road in a three-car crash.
Cr O’Reilly said there was an urgent need for traffic lights, especially with the area being identified for high population growth.
“To drive north in peak hour, residents have no choice but to face ‘iron walls’ of traffic on Lightwood or Springvale Roads. There’s no easy way to make a right turn.”
“It is way overdue that something was done to fix the traffic design problems in this area.”
Cr O’Reilly highlighted the unsignalised Lindsay Williams bridge that is clogged with peak-time traffic trying to turn into Lightwood Road.
It was a design that was ticked off and modelled by VicRoads, but it has now handballed responsibility to Greater Dandenong Council.
In 2013, Springvale Asian Business Association had forecast this very situation – prior to the bridge’s opening.
“Once they open that intersection, there will be only chaos,” spokesperson Stan Chang said at the time.
“Once it has been created, it will be costly to fix. It will create a problem for the next 50-100 years.”
At the time VicRoads project director Andrew Williams said the bridge was developed through a “lengthy and rigorous design process” with the project design team and Greater Dandenong Council.
According to its review, “traffic flow will be low; and even at the peak movements, traffic flow will be maintained as the peaks occur at different times of the day”.
Mr Williams also said independent road safety audits of the design found no safety issue, and traffic modelling up to 2046 showed traffic signals weren’t required at the intersections at either end of the bridge.
The Department of Transport – formerly VicRoads – told Star News on 11 July it is now not responsible for the Sandown Road and Lightwood Road intersections. It is managed by City of Greater Dandenong, it asserts.
On 10 July, the department also investigated the recent fatal crash site at Rosalie Street.
It found there was sufficient sight distance at the intersection, with a centre median allowing cars to make a staged right turn onto Springvale Road.
“We’ll continue to monitor the area to determine if any changes need to be made.”
On 8 July, Cr O’Reilly successfully moved for the council to lobby for State and Federal government funding to fix the problem.
The council will also conduct traffic surveys, growth forecasts and formulate possible options.
Unblock Springvale Action Group spokesperson Dyna Holl said there were “significant dangers” in entering and exiting off Sandown road.
“The constant bottleneck and increasing congestion will inevitably lead to a fatal accident on our roads if nothing is done.
“This is an ongoing frustration for our residents, nearby schools and businesses.
“We can’t wait until a serious accident happens – we need to act now to save lives on our roads.”