Review called into Sale blackspot

Photo: Tom Parry

The state government has confirmed it will conduct a review into a notorious Sale intersection.

The Department of Transport is preparing to undertake a full, independent road safety assessment of the intersection at Dawson Street, Maffra Road and Princes Highway.

As part of the assessment, the Department will monitor the performance and safety of the intersection and ensure it is safe for road users.

“The safety of all Victorian road users is our priority and we’ll continue to explore ways to make Gippsland’s roads safer,” a state government spokesperson told the Gippsland Times.

“We are dedicated to the safety of road users across Victoria and continue to monitor where safety upgrades are required across the region.”

The four-way intersection has long been a source of bemusement to tourists and frustration to locals.

Although traffic lights are operational, there are no signals to guide vehicles at Dawson St, which is served only by a Give Way sign.

As a result, the flow of traffic exiting Dawson St is often impeded during peak hours.

Motorists entering Maffra Rd from the Princes Hwy also face headaches – traffic entering from the south is given right-of-way, requiring all other vehicles to stop immediately after exiting the intersection.

Furthermore, there is only one lane to feed traffic exiting Maffra Road, causing congestion during peak hours.

The assessment comes amid a fresh push for the intersection to be upgraded.

Photo: Tom Parry

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester recently called on the new Albanese federal government to fund upgrades for the “poorly designed” intersection, believing it requires “urgent work”.

“The previous Federal Government provided $300 million for highway upgrades and I know there’s some unspent funds in that program,” Mr Chester said.

“The State Government owns the road and I approached the Minister responsible to request Regional Roads Victoria investigate the concerns of local residents.

“They have agreed to an independent safety review, and to investigate options for upgrading this intersection for consideration in a funding program.”

Mr Chester has met with the Victorian Department of Transport multiple times to address his concerns, and is now urging bureaucrats to move quickly in the interests of road safety.

“It’s a notoriously difficult intersection to navigate and encourages risk taking behaviour as motorists become impatient with long delays,” he said.

“We need to get a new intersection designed and access the Federal Government’s funding program as soon as possible.”

The Federal Department of Infrastructure, which handles the funding and construction of roads nationally, was approached by the Gippsland Times for comment.

State Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has echoed Mr Chester’s push, saying that the intersection clearly needs to be reviewed and funded for improvements.

“Traffic at this intersection has increased over the past few years with the establishment and growth of the Glebe and Woondella estates on Sale-Maffra Road, as well as the Glenhaven estate off the Princes Highway,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We have also seen the relocation of the Gippsland Specialist School and it’s reasonable to expect that more businesses, such as the recently constructed Turnbull Hino, will continue to be established as the township of Sale expands.”