$450,000 road sign to warn drivers
MAIN Roads is set to install a permanent road condition sign at the Eight Mile intersection, nearly two years after first announcing the plan.
As reported in May 2009, the department said it would put in place an electronic “variable message” sign costing $450,000 by July that year, but it was never carried out.
Recent inquiries by the Daily News – following the death of teacher Jane Ezzy at the Eight Mile last month – yesterday produced a statement that the message sign would be in place within a fortnight.
Problems with the design of the support structure have been blamed for the delay in its appearance on the southern approach to the Eight Mile heading from Warwick.
The plan for the sign was part of a $4.25 million “signs and lines” upgrade of the dangerous intersection completed in early 2009.
Main Roads regional director Tony Platz said yesterday the sign would inform motorists of “potential hazards, incidents and delays on the road ahead”.
“This will be a valuable tool in providing motorists with advanced warning about congestion, crashes, wet road conditions and other potential hazards,” Mr Platz said.
“The Eight Mile is an important intersection for those travelling to south east Queensland, especially from the west or New South Wales.
“This technology will give them the option of taking an alternative route if there are road problems.
“For example, if there are delays to Brisbane via Cunningham's Gap, motorists will have the opportunity to take the Toowoomba exit as an alternative route to Brisbane.”
Mr Platz said the sign would be installed “in the next week or so” and would be operational soon after this.
“There may be some minor delays during the actual installation of the sign,” he said.
Temporary variable message signs are a common sight on our highways and are normally positioned on a trailer.
A joint investigation by Main Roads and police into the collision which caused Mrs Ezzy's death is continuing and a report will be prepared for the Queensland coroner.
The tragedy happened on the morning of March 18, when her Warwick-bound sedan was struck by a Brisbane-bound B-double as she travelled from her Toowoomba home to Assumption College.
With many locals calling for the speed limit to be reduced at the Eight Mile – as well a permanent engineering fix such as a flyover – Main Roads yesterday said a 2006 safety audit “looked closely” at the appropriate speed limit.
“This was taken into account as part of the safety upgrades finished in 2009,” a spokeswoman said.
“Subsequent speed studies agreed the current speed limit is appropriate and as such, there are no plans to change the speed limit.
“We remind motorists to take care to come to a complete stop at the stop sign, and look both ways, as with any other intersection.”
She said placement of a permanent speed camera, as has also been suggested, was a police matter.
Shadow Federal Transport Minister Warren Truss inspected the Eight Mile on Friday with Maranoa MP Bruce Scott.
A design for a flyover at the Eight Mile was completed by Main Roads some years ago with a 2008 estimate putting the cost at around the $14 million mark.
If ever constructed, a flyover would improve safety by physically separating the Warwick and Brisbane-bound highways.
Along with a speed limit reduction, other at-grade options mooted by local road-users for the Eight Mile intersection include traffic lights or a roundabout.