Melbourne’s congested Hoddle Street is the focus of two new plans aimed at improving travel times in the area.
An American system called ‘Continuous Flow’ is one proposal, requiring roads to be widened at certain points. The approach would be a first for Australia.
Continuous Flow sees right turn lanes (for countries driving on the left, such as Australia) brought back from intersections with secondary traffic lights installed.
Vehicles turning right wait to do so in dedicated turning lanes around 200 metres before the intersection itself, meaning right-hand turns are no longer made at the point of the intersection.
Through traffic continues as before, until the secondary traffic lights stop the ‘last few cars’ travelling in one direction while vehicles complete right-hand turns.
To turn right, vehicles effectively cross the path of through traffic into dedicated turning lanes (see video, bottom of page).
The system has been declared a success in parts of the US, and is estimated to cost around $60 million to implement in Melbourne.
Major hurdles to the plan include the cost and logistics of securing additional land to widen roads in the area, and disruptions to an already-congested roadway during phases of construction.
Instead, the RACV is calling for 24-hour clearways to be established along Hoddle Street, combined with bus lanes and the closure of minor intersecting roads to through traffic.
The motoring group says these plans would be a cheaper and more immediate way to ease congestion while more permanent solutions are sought.
Meanwhile, the new state government in Victoria maintains plans to eliminate 50 level rail crossings, but the future of the East West Link road is still in limbo.
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