Call for intersection traffic lights

Truck driver Phil Hayes has experienced firsthand how dangerous the Gocup Road intersection is when B-Doubles are involved.

Local truck driver and well-known driving instructor Phil Hayes is calling for traffic lights to be put in at the Snowy Mountains Highway/ Gocup Road intersection.

He believes they are the most effective way to prevent further accidents at the notorious crossroads.

“It’s a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ there’s a fatality,” he said.

“Somebody’s going to go under a truck. They’ll be coming along the Snowy Mountains Highway not watching what they’re doing, and they’ll go underneath a truck that’s turning. It’s a real danger, and it’s worse now than it ever was due to the amount of traffic that we have.”

Mr Hayes said traffic lights would stop the risk that comes from trucks turning at a slow speed onto the Snowy Mountains Highway from Gocup Road while cars are zooming along at 60 kilometres an hour.

In his experience, many people don’t understand how slow a loaded B-Double is, and how limited their reaction times are, and don’t behave safely around them even when they aren’t at a tricky intersection. However, with traffic lights, trucks wouldn’t have to navigate highway traffic while they’re trying to turn.

“Coming out of there myself as a truck driver, I know how long it takes to get out,” he said.

“The government’s allocated half a million dollars to do a feasibility study to see what the safest option is.

“There is nothing safer than lights – if you put a roundabout there a B-Double’s going to be slower coming out around that than on the intersection now.”

His plan would involve widening Gocup Road and the caravan park side of the Snowy Mountains Highway to enable proper turning lanes, adding official turning lanes to Capper Street and the Adelong side of the highway, and installing traffic lights at each entry point to the intersection: Gocup Road, Capper Street, and both sides of the highway.

This would prevent what he believes is an inevitable collision of car and truck, solve the problem of visibility of traffic on the curve approaching the intersection from the caravan park side, and manage the build up of traffic than can occur on Gocup Road.

“Right now it’s a bottleneck,” he said.

“They’ve extended the Give Way signs out a bit – which is good, it gives you a bit more vision – but it doesn’t get rid of the problem.

“You can sit there for four or five minutes sometimes before you’ve got a gap, and if you’ve got a gap for a car to go out you haven’t got a gap for a truck. If one truck sits there for a few minutes there could be five or six others behind.

“Widening the road isn’t going to hurt it, it’s just swamp, it’s not anybody’s properties, so I can’t see giant costs or issues involved. It’s not going to be cheap, but if they spend a few million on it now but leave it like it is it’ll just be like the one out at Gilmore.”

The Batlow Road/Snowy Mountains Highway intersection at Gilmore was the recipient of extensive works that didn’t dramatically change the nature of the site, and saw a fatality there last month.

“Traffic lights aren’t a perfect solution but they’re the best one,” said Mr Hayes.