Brett Belstead, Director South West Operations, Main Roads WA. Speaking on up-dates to the Eelup Roundabout and the Outer Ring Road.
An informative presentation given by Brett regarding up-dates on the Bunbury outer ring road and Eelup Roundabout. The ring road Stage 1 will be a new Bunbury port access road which will link in with South West Highway through to Dardanup Boyanup Road, anticipated to be open to traffic within a month. Stage 2 will be from South West Highway through Gelorup and exit out at Stratham, South of the Capel Golf Course. Funding of $600M to finish Stage 2 is still to be officially allocated in the budget but it is anticipated that completion will be by 2020. Aim of the ring road is to divert trucks and port traffic away from residential areas and provide easy access to/from the Bunbury port.
The Eelup Roundabout development came about due to the high number of accidents at or on the intersections, mainly rear ends of vehicles. In the period 1991 to 2011, the crash rate went from 8 to 142 per annum (approx 3 per week). This was more than double the crash rate compared with other WA intersections, even in Metro areas. Main Roads did extensive comparison of roundabouts worldwide, plus had a really cool `real time’ computer simulation model which, based on 2 days of helicopter observations over the intersection, plotted the flow of traffic at various times during the day. Based on this model, a signalised roundabout option was chosen, which adds 40% extra capacity for future traffic volume, reduces congestion, reduces speed on the roundabout, allows better truck access and fits with the future flyover possibility with minimal disruption to existing traffic flow during construction. The traffic lights are on a 2 phase 30 second program, so nobody needs to wait any more than 30 seconds at a red light, even in peak times. On Public Holidays when traffic is extensively increased at the beginning and end of the weekend, the traffic lights can be altered to remain on for longer allowing free flow of traffic reducing congestion at these peak times. The computer simulation was very realistic and showed minute details of traffic speed, volume and variations. Since it’s opening on 21 May 2012, there have only been 14 crashes recorded in a 6 month period. It is anticipated that this will drop down over time to less than 10 per annum which is considerably less than previously recorded.
There were plenty of questions from members regarding the presentation, but overall it was extremely informative and has given everyone a great understanding of the rationale behind the change to one of Bunbury’s most infamous intersections. Many thanks Brett.