The latest work on Tumut’s infamous Gocup Road-Snowy Mountains Highway intersection will begin on Monday.
The upgrade will include formalising the current traffic arrangement, removing vegetation, upgrading line marking and signs, and installing medians, kerbs and a safety barrier to help guide vehicles through the intersection.
Perhaps controversially, the work will not include traffic lights.
In the 2017 state budget, the NSW government set aside $500,000 for an investigation into improving the intersection, and settled on a set of traffic lights as the appropriate measure.
However, that idea has now been shelved, and Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes and Tumut River Brewing Co (which overlooks the intersection) co-founder Tim Martin have been among those to express their disappointment.
However, Deputy Mayor and paramedic John Larter believes that the current plans should be given the benefit of the doubt, and traffic lights are not necessarily the answer to the intersection’s woes.
“In my experience the problem has been people coming from the north going through the Give Way sign,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable what they are doing. Let’s see how it goes. If it works okay then we have had a win; if it needs tweaking lets look at it.”
Cr Larter likes the idea of warning lights and ripple strips letting drivers on Gocup Road know there is a Give Way ahead.
“If you’ve got traffic lights, people will still go through them,” he said.
“It has been my experience as a paramedic in Sydney that people still go through red lights.”
He believes the problem at the Tumut intersection stems from a lack of awareness.
“People from out of town, who have been driving for five hours from Sydney, and they are tired,” he said.
“It’s a matter of finding more ways to wake them up.”
A state government spokesperson said the Department investigated the installation of traffic lights at the Snowy Mountains Highway and Gocup Road intersection as part of the development process.
“Investigations showed that the safety improvements we are proposing would better address the problem we are trying to fix at the intersection when compared to traffic lights,” he said.
“Also, installation of traffic lights would require a large project footprint, which would impact property, Tumut wetlands and areas of heritage significance.
“Installing traffic lights would also require increased funding to cover costs including property acquisition, road widening, surface improvements and environmental mitigations.”
Meanwhile, the $997,000 work is being funded by the Safer Roads program and will be carried out between 7am and 6pm weekdays and 8am to 1pm Saturdays from Monday and is scheduled to be finished in five weeks, if weather conditions allow.