Intersection delay a dereliction of duty

News that work will start on a new Mt Barker freeway interchange has been overshadowed by the revelation that a nearby major intersection may not be fixed at the same time.
The Bald Hills Road/Old Princes Highway T-junction between Mt Barker and Nairne is a dangerous bottleneck at peak times.
It has been the site of numerous crashes, including several serious injury accidents.
Add hundreds more cars from a new interchange, however, and it risks becoming a nightmare for motorists.
The Mt Barker Council understands this and has lobbied the State Government for several years to upgrade the dangerous junction.
It maintains that doing so before the new interchange opens is essential to stop it becoming even more of a risk to community safety.
The council wants a “significant upgrade” now, most likely in the form of a roundabout.
However, the Government has confirmed it has no money allocated for any improvements to the intersection for the 2014/15 financial year.
Instead, it says it is still “considering potential upgrades” at the site, but any project would not be built at the same time as the new interchange.
That is deeply concerning.
It is blindingly obvious that the efficiency of the interchange would be crippled by the T-junction in its current state.
Mixing peak-hour traffic from Mt Barker with that heading to or coming from Adelaide would place enormous pressure on the intersection.
Many motorists using that interchange would be from Nairne and Woodside or further afield, travelling to the city for work.
The evening peak hour in particular would loom as a real nightmare, when many would want to exit the freeway and expect to turn right onto the Old Princes Highway.
Delaying the upgrade of the T-junction until after the interchange is built presents a huge potential risk to drivers’ safety and is  a dereliction of duty on behalf of the State Government.
The Old Princes Highway is a State Government controlled road and any decision to fix the intersection rests with it.
Frustratingly, the Government does recognise the need for work to be done at the site because it included the junction in its transport deed – an agreement it struck with developers whose land was recently rezoned to provide money for major transport infrastructure projects.
The time has come for it to make the project a priority and ensure the work is done before the new interchange opens.