The Daily Mail, never subtle, wrote YP had “Australia’s WORST long weekend traffic jam: Holidayers driving home after Easter break are caught in nightmare 12-kilometre-long gridlock”. That was just the headline.
The major television news channels broadcast live from Port Wakefield. Channel 9 even had a live feed online, showing frustrated motorists edging toward Wakefield. Channel 7 screened footage of a man who exited his passenger seat and walked to the new roundabout faster than his driver could arrive by car. When you can walk faster than you can drive in a 110km/h zone (80km/h closer to the roundabout), that is not a good sign.
This is not a new problem, although several people commented Easter Monday’s traffic jam was the worst they had experienced along the stretch.
The bad news is the new roundabout at Federation Corner did not ease the congestion as the previous state government had claimed it would. Instead, vehicles banked up all the way back to the roundabout, and beyond, causing more issues. If only local councils had warned the government that would happen. Oh wait, they did.
The roundabout is a worthwhile safety measure, slowing vehicles down at an intersection where lives have been lost. But it was never going to help traffic flow. And the new government’s proposed overpass at Crash Corner, where the Copper Coast Highway meets the Augusta Highway, will have the same effect. It will improve safety by eliminating the need for drivers to give way and turn right into Port Wakefield. But as long as single lanes run through Wakefield, the traffic will bottleneck and come to a standstill.
Dual lanes must be created through the town. The project would involve a national highway so would require federal government help. It’s a big ask but, as the media frenzy surrounding the Easter Monday traffic gridlock has shown, it’s a big problem. It needs to be resolved.
Nick Perry, Editor