North coast resident George Turner has welcomed news that improvements are going to made to the Emu Bay Road intersection after his wife was tragically killed.
Mr Turner was driving along North Coast Road on April 27 when a car being driven by a tourist allegedly drove through the intersection and collided with his vehicle.
He said two or three big mallee trees did block the view for drivers approaching North Coast Road. Meanwhile it’s “full steam ahead” for Mr Turner, who plans to have his castle light show going again in a few weeks.
The Kangaroo Island Council at its June meeting voted to take action to improve the Emu Bay intersection including clearing vegetation to improve visibility.
Emu Bay Progress Association chairman Graham Smith gave a deputation to the councillors on Tuesday, June 12 imploring them to take action after the recent fatal accident.
Councillor Ken Liu moved a motion that vegetation be cleared in order to for the intersection to meet safety requirements. The motion was passed with the added proviso that the Native Vegetation Council be consulted.
“I must agree with quite a few points including that native vegetation is an issue and the situation in 20 years has not changed,” Cr Liu said.
A second motion was then passed that an options report be prepared for councillors listing additional safety measures that could taken at the intersection.
The accident occurred at the intersection of Emu Bay Road and North Coast Road despite improvements being put in place by the council only days before, including new give-way line marking and signs.
The Emu Bay community after the accident called on authorities to put in place more improvements to help prevent any additional accidents.
Mr Smith on Tuesday urged the council to take action, listing several action the association would like the council to take, the first being the clearing of native vegetation.
“That corner has been subject to a lot concern for a long, long time and my wife has had a couple of close shaves and I can list five or six others,” Mr Smith said.
As a former councillor, as well as a former chairman of the Roadside Vegetation committee and local representative on the Native Vegetation Council, he was aware of the difficulties in getting approval to clear vegetation from intersections but said these could be overcome with legal precedence for taking action.
He also suggested that council consider lowering the speed limit on the entire length of Emu Bay Road to 80km/h and that a stop sign, slip lane or offset T-junction also be considered for the intersection. Additional pull-off areas for school buses were also needed.
Mr Smith offered to make available land he owned at the corner for an offset T-junction with Boxer Road.
Mayor Peter Clements spoke to issue of traffic safety in general and informed the council that a representative from the State Road Safety Directorate was due to visit the Island to get feedback on how roads could be made safer.
Mr Clements pointed out that contrary to conventional wisdom it was locals involved in most of the serious traffic accidents.
The council also tabled in correspondence a letter from general manager road safety, Gabby O’Neill that listed crash data for KI over the past five years, stating there had been six fatal accidents and 27 serious injury crashes.
Statistics listed were that 45 per cent of accidents occurred on unsealed roads, 85 per cent of serious and all fatal accidents, prior to this latest crash, were single vehicle accidents, four out of six involved alcohol and only one international visitor was involved in a serious crash.