New intersection an ‘accident waiting to happen’

Portarlington residents continue to push for answers – and solutions – over a newly constructed intersection on Portarlington Road.

The intersection, at the corner of Point Richards, Batman and Portarlington Roads, has been upgraded due to a housing development that will see 300 homes built adjacent to roads.

Community group Friends of Ramblers Road Portarlington (FoRR), which consists of over 100 property owners in the area, say they were not “adequately consulted” prior to the intersection’s construction and are “extremely concerned” about the design and its potential to cause serious collisions.

FoRR spokesperson Sue Cairns said the design, which was based on a traffic volume assessment taken on July 24, 2018 between 4pm and 6pm, had not taken into account “lots of factors”.

“(The traffic assessment) is not only six years old, but it was done in July, which is when all the tourists have left and half the people that live here have left to go north,” Ms Cairns said.

“(The designers) have allowed for two per cent growth, but they haven’t taken into account COVID and more people moving down here. They haven’t taken into account the fact the (Point Richards) boat ramp has been developed quite substantially during that time.

“They haven’t taken into account that the caravan park, one of the largest in Victoria, has put an exit on western end of Boat Road, which means that caravan people will come out onto Point Richards Road to head to Geelong.

“They say they’ve done the safety audit, and it may comply with minimum standards, but everyone in Portarlington I’ve spoken to has said it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

FoRR has attempted to make its concerns known to the City of Greater Geelong, the Department of Transport and Planning and local members or Parliament, but they fear nothing will happen until the intersection’s design leads to serious injury or death.

“It needs traffic lights or, at minimum, a roundabout, but I don’t think the Department of Transport and Planning are going to do that,” Ms Cairns said.

“We know we’re probably not going to get any change, but we want to raise the profile just to get it out there.

“The person in the next accident could a close friend, or could be a family member… so we want to try to avoid that happening.”

Member for Bellarine Alison Marchant said she took road safety “very seriously” and was pursuing the matter.

“Immediately after the community expressed their concerns regarding safety, I sought further information regarding the intersection upgrades,” Ms Marchant said.

“I… will continue to liaise with appropriate departments and responsible authorities.”

The City of Greater Geelong and the Department of Transport and Planning were contacted for comment.