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The site plan shows required changes to the intersection if a concrete roundabout were to be constructed – the red areas represent land that would have to be resumed. Images: CVC/Planit Consulting Pty Ltd.

Green light likely for Treelands Drive traffic control

Geoff Helisma |

Councillors will make a decision about how to manage traffic at the intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road at next week’s Clarence Valley Council meeting, with the staff-advocated traffic lights option the likely outcome.

Of the four options considered – re-alignment of the existing traffic lanes through new line marking, a single lane concrete pavement roundabout, a signalised intersection, or a mini roundabout – traffic lights is the only option that meets all of the intersection treatment criteria.

The intersection must be upgraded to accommodate the development of a Coles service station, approved in July 2017, on the two vacant blocks of land adjacent to the intersection.

A traffic impact assessment of the intersection, which estimates traffic movements and the effectiveness of each option at 10-year intervals until 2048, found that line marking would fail by 2028 and that all of the other options would fail by 2038, notwithstanding that the paved roundabout is the only option that would meet morning peak hour predictions in that year.

However, irrespective of which option is adopted, come 2038 an additional travel lane and additional land acquisitions will be needed to meet the expected increased traffic.

The $3,588,720 cost of the concrete roundabout option is likely to be a significant factor when councillors make their decision, as well as the “significant community disruption from the construction process”, outlined in the report to council.

The new line marking option would cost $33,600.

The mini roundabout is costed at $174,000 and, while it minimises property acquisition requirements, it is overlooked for further consideration by staff due its “relatively small size” and the resultant “less efficient treatment for traffic flow due to the smaller separation in traffic and gaps created by the geometry”.

Traffic lights are estimated to cost $501,000, however, staff note that there will be ongoing costs to operate and maintain the lights and, compared to the concrete roundabout, there will be additional costs as a result of having to replace the pavement “approximately every 7-10 years, due to the screwing turning movements of the heavy vehicles, if an asphalt surface is maintained”.

Staff recommended traffic lights as “the most cost-efficient option” for the following reasons: “initial cost, [land] acquisition level, inconvenience to the community, ability to augment the option in the future and potential future acquisitions/construction”.

Whether or not there is further community consultation – staff do not suggest this in their recommendation to council – will up to councillors, as the report notes “there has been no community consultation over the options”.

Meanwhile, Yamba resident Graeme East last year ran a low key campaign against installing traffic lights, including a petition that collected 262 signatures.

Mr East said he was “disappointed if the council goes ahead with traffic lights”.

“It will change the character of Yamba forever,” he said.
“Even more disappointing is that this has really come about to facilitate a service station we didn’t need.”

The Independent contacted Clarence Property Corporation Limited, which owns Yamba Fair and the service station site, curious about the wall currently under construction on land that would have to be resumed if a concrete roundabout were constructed; however, the relevant spokesperson was unavailable before going to print.

The table summarises how each option meets (or not) comparative criteria. Images: CVC/Planit Consulting Pty Ltd.