For decades, one Launceston intersection has been so confusing that the road rules basically get thrown out the window.
The convergence of Wellington Street, Norwich Street and Rose Lane in front of the Greek Orthodox Church has challenged countless drivers – a scene regularly observed by Peter Mastrantonas.
“They all meet at the centre here, you have no idea who is going to try to go first or second, so you have to sit back and wait for someone to make a move,” he said.
“I’ve been here for 40 years and it’s always been the same, we’ve all been worried about it.”
When the church and the neighbouring dance studio have meetings at the same time, the roads become packed with cars. And when they all try to leave, the vast expanse of bitumen becomes a free-for-all.
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“There’s no set rules, it’s not a normal intersection,” Mr Mastrantonas said.
The intersection was one of 19 to be included in the government’s doubled Vulnerable Road User program, which is providing $50,000, along with the City of Launceston providing $22,600, to separate the roads and create an island in the middle with a garden.
The intersection was eligible under the program given its high levels of pedestrian traffic.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson said it would solve the confusion at the intersection and improve safety for pedestrians.
“It’s an awkward intersection … when you see Norwich Street and Rose Lane both sharing a common entry onto [Wellington Street], it’s a very unorthodox design for the road right outside the Greek Orthodox Church,” he said.
“This is going to see an improvement in this particular location with a separation of the two entryways, pedestrian refuges and an attractive garden as well.”
Tasmania is facing another year with an above-average road toll, including six fatalities in August. If this trend continued, 175 Tasmanians would die on the roads in the next five years.
In addition to increasing the funding for the vulnerable road users program, the government will increase its road safety advertising by 40 per cent in September.
Other areas to be upgraded are the Grant and Circassian street intersection at St Helens, East Barrack Street and Tower Hill Street in Deloraine, and the Queen and High street intersection in Campbell Town.