Horror Penshurst intersection 'still unsafe'

FRESH calls have emerged for more  safety improvements at a notorious south-west intersection where six people were killed in the horrific Dunkeld races crash more than two years ago.

Farmer Brian Morton said his concerns were reignited after a close call last week while he was driving his truck loaded with hay.

“It was foggy and a car came flying past me from the Dunkeld direction doing about 100 kilometres an hour,” he said.

“I don’t think they realised it was an intersection and certainly didn’t notice me.

“They would have been facing a give-way sign and went straight through.”

The offending vehicle was on Blackwood-Dunkeld Road, which crosses Chatsworth-Hamilton Road near another intersection with Woolsthorpe Road. It is known locally as the five-ways intersection.

Mr Morton said he and other local residents considered that signage put up after the two-vehicle smash in 2011 that killed five former students from Warrnambool’s Emmanuel College and a Terang truck driver was inadequate. He suggested rumble strips and off-setting the intersection as better long-term solutions.

“The roads are used by visitors heading to and from the Grampians who would be unfamiliar with the area. 

“There are always tyre skid marks on the road.”

The road is marked on computer and satellite navigation systems as the shortest route for traffic heading west from the Hamilton Highway.

Southern Grampians Shire Council said works had been done following the smash to improve the intersection.

“Council would be interested in hearing from local residents if there are any particular safety concerns,” shire infrastructure director Kevin O’Brien said.

Transport Accident Commission road safety senior manager Samantha Cockfield said there was no research to indicate GPS and computer map systems were linked to smashes by motorists using unfamiliar rural roads.

“The key issue is to reduce speed at intersections,” she said.

“Roundabouts are proven to be highly effective in forcing vehicles to slow down. Rumble strips provide auditory and vibration warnings and are 10 to 15 per cent effective, especially for drivers who don’t know the roads.

“We can also have split intersections which forces drivers to almost come to a stop, or staggered T-intersections.

“There are lots of things we could do, but it depends on traffic volumes and other factors.”

Ms Cockfield said some evidence showed that drivers familiar with certain roads and rail crossings sometimes had collisions because of complacency.

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