4WD rollover at notorious Karratha intersection
Traffic lights placed at the “worst intersection in the Pilbara” to improve safety seem to have made matters worse with the frequency of reported accidents doubling since their installation.
There have been 10 recorded crashes at the Dampier Highway and De Witt Road intersection from when lights were installed in August, 2015 to December, 2016.
Jon Wilson, who was involved in a crash last year, said the intersection needed a complete redesign.
“In our case we were lucky, we are at work today but there is $100,000 worth of vehicle written off in a second,” he said. “It could have been much worse.
“Most of the time the turning arrow isn’t illuminated so you’ve got to take the risk as to whether you will make that right-hand turn.
“It is inherently dangerous for the fact that from what others told us ... there are times where you are staring directly into the sun.”
In 2014, the intersection was announced as receiving $600,000 in State Government Black Spot upgrade funding, to go with $300,000 being chipped in by the City of Karratha.
From 2009-2014, Main Roads WA data shows there were 28 registered crashes, an average of about 5.5 incidents per year.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long would not be drawn on whether he believed the intersection needed another redesign.
“The City is confident that the lights installed at the Dampier Highway and De Witt Road intersection are the most appropriate way of managing this intersection safely with efficient traffic flow,” he said.
“As always, we urge motorists to drive with care and abide by traffic rules and signals at all times to help prevent accidents.” Mr Wilson said a large entrance roundabout like those in Mt Barker and Albany to divert non-local traffic from the town centre would improve safety.
On a positive note, Mr Wilson said those who attended the scene to help out had been fabulous.
“I am so impressed with the people who attended that scene and offered to assist, it was just such a fantastic thing to be on the receiving end of,” he said.
“The town warrants a bloody better entrance than what it has now.”
Mr Wilson encouraged locals to speak up to improve the intersection, as well as the North West Coastal Highway turn-off, to make Karratha a more attractive place to drive into.
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