24 February, 2023
Plan to tackle traffic issues
TRAFFIC calming, intersection improvements, improved lighting and investigations on how long heavy vehicles can be restricted from using the John Doyle Bridge are part of a number of actions outlined in the new local traffic management plan for Anzac Avenue.
The document is a product of months of community consultation including the formation of a local resident traffic working group, community forums, and a survey sent to all households in the area, yielding 99 responses of which 67 per cent said there were traffic issues in their street.
Truck traffic, irresponsible driving, traffic speed and traffic volumes were all identified as issues by residents in the survey.
The local traffic management plan acknowledges there has been a substantial expansion of residential development with the precinct in recent years and that “this rapid urban sprawl” had created challenges in keeping up with the upgrade to infrastructure needed to cater for both vehicular and pedestrian movements.
“Our growing population has led to an increase in vehicle volumes, and when our roads reach capacity or become congested, drivers tend to turn to the local road network to avoid this congestion,” Mayor Angela Toppin said.
“Ultimately, the resulting traffic issues can become more difficult and expensive to address than the original problem.”
A host of actions have been identified in the traffic management plan, but according to local resident and working group member Gladys Franks, change can’t come quick enough.
While she is happy with the final plan, Mrs Franks is pushing Mareeba Shire Council to erect signs at the Herberton Street/Constance Street intersection and on the highway, advising that long heavy vehicles are not allowed to use the John Doyle bridge.
“I’d prefer that happened sooner than later,” she said, adding that she had been advised that until a roundabout was constructed at the intersection, signs would not be installed.
She said with more than 6000 vehicles a day using Anzac Avenue, it was important to implement the action plan as soon as possible to improve safety for those who live in the area.
A total of 15 actions has been outlined in the plan including investigating traffic calming solutions such as entry treatments and LED smiley face signs to reduce speed; possible widening of the avenue between Ferretti Close and Ceola Drive and improving intersections at Ferretti Close, Margherita Close, Cedric Davies Community Hub driveway and Thyme Lifestyle Resort driveway (includes potential relocation of entrance to Cedric Davies Community Hub); improving lighting on the footpath and road; investigating options for turning lanes and pedestrians crossing/refuge at the Ceola Drive/Anzac Avenue intersection; and investigating the reduction of the load limit for John Doyle Bridge.
All of the actions will be subject to budget deliberations by the council, but five major issues identified in the survey will be tackled by June this year.
They are the resealing of Ceola Drive and Hastings Drive; the installation of a No Through Sign at Tivoli Close, Jacinta Close, Ferretti Close, and Margherita Close (which was completed in January); driveway access line markings and No Standing line markings outside the Thyme Lifestyle Resort; and the replacement of the footpath between Margherita and Ferretti Close.
Local Resident Traffic Working Group chair Cr Kevin Davies thanked everyone who had provided feedback throughout the process and members of the group who had provided local knowledge and advice to council.
“The plan that was adopted by council will assist with prioritising work required in the Anzac Avenue precinct based on which project will have the most impact on addressing current traffic problems,” he said.
Mayor Toppin said the next step was for officers to investigate what projects should take priority.
“The Local Area Traffic Management process commenced after the 2022/23 budget allocation, and council officers will now investigate, scope, and cost the suggested priority projects, for future consideration and approval by council,” she said.