Monday, 14 March 2011 09:36
During my recent briefing from the Department of Main Roads it became obvious that any improvement to the Western Freeway was a very distant priority for the government.
Interestingly they did detail some stop gap measures that they feel would increase capacity along the Western Freeway particularly after the opening of the Northern Link Tunnel. These measures will have implications for local residents.
In particular they are looking at "ramp control" for the on-ramps onto the freeway including the Moggill Road on-ramp. This is a system similar to that used on the south east freeway where lights would hold traffic back from entering the freeway to allow a freer flow of traffic along the freeway. The powers that be, believe this would improve flow. There are some issues with some of the on-ramps not being long enough to implement this strategy and works may be considered on them.
The other stop gap measure likely to be implemented fairly soon is variable speed limit signs along the Western Freeway. These would be a low level sign that would drop the speed limit during congestion periods. Again the government believes that dropping the speed limit during times of increased congestion would actually increase the flow and capacity of the road!
I wonder if those responsible for this idea have actually driven on the road. As a regular user along with most of my constituents I can't say I have seen the Western Freeway anywhere near its speed limit during a peak time any day of the year. However this is the advice that is coming from the government.
They also claim and perhaps with some more validity, that if the speed limit was lowered during congestion times that there would be less rear-end collisions. Interestingly I have not seen any figures from them that suggest rear-end collisions are a particular problem but perhaps that part of it makes sense.