Moreton Bay City Council plans to install ten sets of traffic lights over a short section of Old Gympie Road between Kallangur and Dakabin.
To be installed over eight separate stages, the new traffic lights are planned for the five-kilometre stretch between the Boundary Road intersection at Dakabin and the corner of Old Gympie Road and Anzac Avenue.
“Overall, roundabouts have been shown to achieve a 37% reduction in collisions as opposed to traffic lights.”
While some may argue that ten sets of lights within five kilometres (an average of one set of lights every 500 metres) are too many and too close together, the council has considered and rejected other options, such as roundabouts.
Brisbane company ACS Engineers, who specialise in solutions for traffic management, say there are arguments in favour of both roundabouts and traffic lights, depending on the situation.
The company quotes studies showing that roundabouts generally offer an improvement in traffic flow and a lower cost to install and maintain, compared to traffic lights, as well as much improved safety for motorists.
“Overall, roundabouts have been shown to achieve a 37% reduction in collisions as opposed to traffic lights”, according to ACS Engineers.
The reasons for this are related to driver behaviour. Drivers using roundabouts are forced by the road design to slow down, look, and make active judgements about their own safety while negotiating the roundabout. Drivers using traffic lights are more likely to allow their attention to drift, which can lead to a nose-to-tail accident in the traffic light queue.
Despite the statistics about the relative safety of roundabouts, the ACS acknowledges that there are reasons why traffic lights are a better choice for a high-flow major road like Old Gympie Road.
Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) agrees, saying that traffic lights are generally the right answer for arterial roads such as Old Gympie Road as they are safer for cyclists and pedestrians and can be coordinated according to time of day and traffic flow.
MBRC says the new traffic lights on Old Gympie Road will be programmed to favour the higher traffic flow on the major road, a strategy considered beneficial where one road has a much higher and more variable traffic flow than the one intersecting it.
According to MBRC, the traffic lights will also be coordinated to prioritise different directions at different times of the day.
The new traffic signals will be part of a road upgrade providing four lanes, improved lighting and landscaping. There will also be turnaround points at intervals to help with residential access.
MBRC has also planned a dedicated school access loop road to be built next to the Kallangur State School, with drop-off bays, disabled parking and a school bus zone. The proposed traffic lights at Storey Road will be programmed to offer safe access to the school’s new loop road.
Whilst MBRC says parking on the roadside will still be possible, it will not be available in areas near the new signalised intersections.
Roadworks have already begun at Boundary Road, where the roundabout will make way for traffic lights, to be completed later this year. Other sections of the five-kilometre upgrade will be completed in stages over the next decade.
More information can be found at moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Services/Projects/Roads/Old-Gympie-Road-Upgrade