Unacceptably high traffic congestion on Port Macquarie’s road system is confined to three locations; the roundabouts at the intersections of the Oxley Highway-Oxley Drive, Lake Road-Oxley Highway and Ocean Drive-Pacific Drive-Jonas Absolam Drive.
The congestion is not caused by the design of the roundabouts, it’s US, the drivers who use them in peak-hour.
Drivers are not signaling their intentions early enough. When turning right or left they should do so at least 30 metres before the give way line.
It is noted that the Driver’s Handbook requirement that the LH indicator should be activated at every exit from a roundabout is being complied with by only 15% of drivers and of those the signal is often too late. It should be done as you pass the centre point of the roundabout just prior to your exit.
While compliance with the above requirements will significantly reduce peak-hour congestion at all three roundabouts there are situations at each of them that are causing further unnecessary delays.
At the Oxley Highway-Oxley Drive roundabout in the 3 to 4 pm “schools” peak-hour traffic often backs up for up to 300 metres along Oxley Drive and Major Innes Drive.
The cause is overwhelmingly the failure of 80 to 85% of drivers, coming along the Oxley Highway from the east, to signal their exit into Oxley Drive. Those drivers waiting to enter the roundabout from Oxley Drive are unnecessarily held up because they are complying with the rule that they must “give way to any vehicle already on the roundabout”.
Unacceptable traffic congestion occurs at the Oxley Highway-Lake Road intersection, Monday to Friday, between 3.30pm and 5.30am, because a large volume of traffic is traveling East on the Oxley Highway and turning right into Lake Road. This is resulting in up to 80 vehicles (2 lanes of 40) being backed up on the Oxley Highway eastern approach to the roundabout.
There is an “alternate route” solution to this problem.
A significant number of those turning right into Lake Road to return to their homes are turning left at Central Road or Ocean Drive indicating that they live in the Widderson Street-Lake Road-Hollingsworth Street area. Instead of turning right into Lake Road where they experience small delays at Jindalee, Blackbutt and Central Road they could proceed at 70kph and 50kph on the Oxley Highway, turn right into Widderson Street, left into Hindman Street and if necessary left into Ocean Drive.
If this resulted in the number of vehicles turning right into Lake Road being reduced by 25%, the queue waiting on the Oxley Highway eastern approach would be reduced to 8-10 cars.
At the Ocean Drive-Pacific Drive-Jonas Absolam roundabout, compliance with the earlier signaling and exit rules will result in the Ocean Drive southern approach morning peak-hour queue of up to 60 vehicles, and a similar queue from the north in afternoon peak-hour, being substantially reduced.
Any remaining problems at this intersection will disappear when the Greenmeadows to Mathew Flinders section of Ocean Drive is widened to 2 lanes.
The benefits that will come from full compliance with all of the above requirements will be immediate and will be absolutely free.
In fact the many tens of millions of dollars that the Council is seeking for the construction of the orbital roads system might not have to be found until an increase in Port Macquarie’s population and development increases the demand for such works.