Authorities ignore blackspot action

Gareth ThomasAlbany Advertiser

Seven white crosses line the side of a short strip of highway through Narrikup, 38km north of Albany.

However, despite three lives taken along this stretch last year alone, authorities have no plans to improve the road any time soon.

The 4km stretch of Albany Highway begins at Spencer Road, south of Mt Barker and contains sections which are dual carriageway, but more significantly there are at least seven side roads entering the 110km/h zone of highway. before Woodville Road.

Main Roads WA and the Shire of Plantagenet, the local government area responsible for Narrikup, said the stretch of Albany Highway had not been identified as requiring any specific upgrades, despite local police identifying it as a hotspot for crashes.

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A Main Roads spokeswoman said an investigation of the two crashes that caused the three fatalities in 2016 suggested that neither the road condition or road layout was a contributing factor to the crashes.

A police spokesman for the Great Southern traffic division said police were aware of the higher rates of incidence along this section of highway and often committed resources there in an attempt to reduce dangerous driver behaviour.

“Ultimately, the crashes come down to driver behaviour,” he said.

Shire of Plantagenet chief executive Rob Stewart said the Shire did have applications pending with the State Government for road blackspot funding, but it was not for Albany Highway in Narrikup.

“There’s nothing specific with regards to Narrikup,” he said.

It is not the first time this section of highway has been recognised for its deadly potential. In October 1999, Bob Thomas MLC asked the transport minister whether Main Roads WA had allocated blackspot or any other form of funding for Albany Highway in Narrikup “to reduce the number of accidents there”.

Then in a September 2009 meeting of the Shire of Plantagenet Roadwise steering committee, it was noted a request had been received from Narrikup residents asking to have the speed limit reduced between Jackson Road and Yellanup Road because of the number of adjoining roads and high number of crashes.

Albany Highway in Narrikup was mentioned again as a problematic stretch of road at Roadwise committee meetings in July 2014 and February 2015. Mr Stewart said the Shire saw it as part of its role to communicate to authorities on issues that impacted them. “If the community came along or we recognised there were some issues there... we would get in touch with a department or local member,” he said.

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