community-fears-at-the-crossroadsFour victims of serious accidents at the intersection in recent years leant their weigh to the calls for action; Gary Kirk (8 years ago, broken ribs), Susan Banks (2 years ago, chest burns, bruises), Peter Kershaw (2 years ago, car written off), Matt Hull (6 years ago, chest and neck injuries, car written off). M024214

– Locals want action at Lance Creek intersection

MOST of the people in the crowd of more than 150 at the intersection of West Creek Road and Korumburra-Wonthaggi Road last Wednesday had previously cheated death or injury at the site.
Four of them had had their cars written off and been hospitalised by negligent drivers.
Others, not quite so lucky, weren’t around to tell their tale.
Up until now, they’ve all sucked it up, warned their families and friends of the dangers and gotten on with their lives.
All that changed last Monday afternoon when one of the district’s best known and well-loved couples, the Lukes, fell victim to a sickening collision at the site and were airlifted to Melbourne.
Someone else had simply run the stop sign in front of them and cleaned them up.
It was the last straw.
When a call went out for an impromptu protest meeting at the dangerous intersection last week, locals responded in big numbers.
Their presence was a clear indication that there is indeed a problem, a serious one requiring urgent action.
The victims of last Monday’s accident, the latest resulting from a long list of collisions, were John Luke and his wife Barbara.
Both have been tireless community contributors.
John was knocked out by the impact, broke three ribs and copped a lot of bruising around the chest. Barbara was worse off. She had a compound fracture of the lower right leg, and signs of fractures to the neck and spine. She’ll recover but will be very sore for months.
“If there’s one good thing to come out of this, it’s that mum would be proud to see so many people here trying to do something for the safety of the community,” her son Allan Tack told the assembled gathering.
Graham Bird, one of the organisers of the meeting, said he had often seen drivers going straight through the intersection at full speed despite facing a stop sign.
He said immediate action was needed, including cutting back trees so that the stop sign was visible from further back.
Someone else said warning lights and hazard signs should be added as an interim measure
But what the community wants is for the whole intersection to be redesigned and reconstructed to end the carnage.
Sure, people should stop, but history shows they don’t.
“It’s not even recognised as a ‘black spot’ by VicRoads but it should be,” said someone.
“What’s it got to take to get some action? It shouldn’t have to take a fatality to get them to listen. Our community should be protected,” said another.
“One day it will be one of us,” said Graham Bird.
“At night, the trucks don’t even stop,” claimed one man, referring to heavy vehicle traffic going to the nearby abattoir.
“Most of the locals know you’ve got to slow down here but others just go straight through.”
Local resident and victim of the dangerous intersection two years ago, Susan Banks, knows that only too well.
“I was going into Wonthaggi when I was t-boned by a car coming through the stop sign. My car was written off and I had neck and chest burns from the seat belt. I was saved by the airbags,”
she said.
“There were a couple of young blokes in the car who said they didn’t see the stop sign.”

What’s happening

Things are moving fast already.
Clare Le Serve, a candidate for Bass in the next State election, is getting on to the shire to have the trees trimmed and will be visiting the site this week.
Local MP Ken Smith and Liberal candidate Brian Paynter have been lobbied about the need for action. They’re also likely to visit.
A Facebook page is being started and organisers are requesting that victims email their near-miss stories to a special email address:
“It’s all about putting pressure on the pollies and to a lesser extent the shire to get something done,” said Graham Bird.
“Hopefully that means cutting back some trees and warning signs initially but then a full redesign of the intersection at a later date,” he said.

And another thing

A complicating factor at the Lance Creek intersection is Bird Road.
This smaller side road hits the eastern part of the intersection of these two main roads creating access problems for local residents and dangers for passing motorists.
“I nearly got wiped out there one day waiting for a truck to turn. Nearly everyone has had a near miss at one time or another,” said George Bird.