Adjournment: Ferguson Street, Williamstown
Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (19:18:26) — (14 207) My adjournment matter is also for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who in fact has become quite a frequent visitor to the Williamstown electorate, especially to mark the various milestones of the West Gate tunnel project.
The action I seek from the minister tonight is that he requests VicRoads assess whether the sequencing of the multiple traffic signals on Ferguson Street at the Williamstown North level crossing can be altered to ease the level of traffic congestion around the various intersections. I make this request in the full knowledge that this level crossing is among the 20 most dangerous level crossings in Melbourne and is in fact listed to be removed by the Andrews Labor government by 2022. Planning for the removal of this crossing is still at the very early stages, hence my request for some potential interim relief in terms of road congestion.
For the minister’s benefit, the road network in and around this crossing is in fact very complex. There are multiple local roads merging into main roads, with a number of roundabouts all split by the Williamstown rail corridor and the crossing on Ferguson Street. In order to maintain the safe movement of traffic and pedestrians, a number of traffic lights were installed around the local road junctions in 2011. These lights are all sequenced with the railway signals. From a safety point of view, this appears to be a very sensible design, but the practical effect is that all traffic comes to a standstill in every direction when the lights go red together.
I know that there have been a number of reviews and in fact some tweaks since the lights were installed, but given it has been a number of years since the last review, I think it is probably time for another assessment to be done. Anything that can be done to free up some congestion around the crossing until it is removed would be extremely welcomed by the community.
Hon Luke DONNELLAN MP (Minister for Roads) VicRoads understands that traffic along Ferguson Street experiences congestion, particularly during peak periods when there is significant demand from people moving along and across the road including rail commuters.
VicRoads advises me that the traffic signals at the level crossing located near Williamstown North train station are largely dependent on rail operations. That is, whenever an approaching train is detected, traffic signals turn to red to ensure passing trains have a clear path. While this can cause delay to motorists (including those turning into and out of side roads), operational changes to existing traffic signals will not address this delay.
Instead, significant investment would be needed to several intersections at this location to effectively manage movements to and from side roads. However, I understand that this may not result in significant improvements to congestion and may instead reduce the level of safety at this location compared to what the current infrastructure arrangements provide.
Metro Trains is responsible for any improvements at this location, which are reliant on the optimisation of train movements at the level crossing.
The most effective and practical solution is to remove the level crossing. Until such time, no further changes to the operation of traffic signals at this location are being considered.