Still no action on notorious intersection

Still no action on notorious intersection

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A stop sign on Abernethy Rd looking a little sad after an altercation with a car.

An intersection in Byford has become infamous for recording serious crashes – so much so that locals need not speak its name, and simply refer to it as ‘the intersection’.

The meeting of Hopkinson and Abernethy Roads – what should be done about it, and who is responsible for it – is a regular talking point on social media.

Twenty-seven crashes have been reported at ‘the intersection’ over the past five years, according to Main Roads records.

That’s approximately one every two months.

It is ranked 522 across the state for crash frequency – a ranking which doesn’t take into account the impact each crash has on traffic congestion, or the community’s psyche.

The most recent crash occurred last Wednesday afternoon causing gridlock in Byford.

A 43-year-old female driver was seriously injured and was taken to Royal Perth Hospital.

Fragments of cracked car parts – most likely debris from past collisions – litter the verges, and road side warnings alerting motorists of the intersection wear the scars of encounters with vehicles.

There seems to be a general consensus from the community that driver ineptitude, inattentiveness or impatience is to blame for the majority of prangs.

But the regular occurrence of accidents demands a closer inspection from those in charge.

President Rob Coales said the SJ Shire is responsible for the two roads and that council “shares the community’s concerns about the safety of the Abernethy/Hopkinson Road intersection and has advocated for short term improvements to be made … while construction of Tonkin Highway occurs”.

In June 2023, the shire and Main Roads got together to ruminate over Hopkinson Road.

After that pow wow, warning signs were installed on the Orton Rd intersection.

President Coales said line markings and ‘raised reflective markings’ are also planned for Orton Road between Hopkinson and King Rds.

But the Abernethy/Hopkinson intersection was given bupkis.

There are rumble strips and warning signs in place, but accidents still happen with alarming frequency.

“The Hopkinson Road and Abernethy Road intersection was reviewed; however, given that the speeds are lower (with the exception of Abernethy Road west leg) and there are larger signs already in place at this intersection, the current situation was considered appropriate,” a Main Roads spokesperson said.

Community members have long suggested that a roundabout would solve the majority of the issues at play – after all, the entire eastern leg of Abernethy through the Glades is decorated with roundabouts.

And Main Roads agrees.

In fact, when the Tonkin Highway Extension is built, there will be a roundabout installed at ‘the intersection’.

Because of the ever-dangling carrot of “impending major upgrades as part of the Tonkin Highway Extension project” Main Roads has said “there are no plans for further investment” in the meantime.

Considering the already significant delays in extending the Tonkin, we asked Main Roads when drivers might be able to expect to drive on this roundabout and were told only that the “Tonkin Highway Extension project is scheduled to commence construction in 2025”.

They did say, however, that Main Roads Traffic Management Services would continue to “monitor the intersection and, should any further issues arise, they will revisit their position in further consultation with the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale”.

We asked what the trigger point would be for action to occur and were met with crickets.

“The shire will continue to advocate for the Tonkin Highway extension project to be delivered as soon as possible,” president Coales said.