Reduced speed limit for Hume Freeway near Wodonga

By: Tamara Whitsed


Roadworks on the Hume Freeway near Wodonga are finally finished. But now the 80km/h speed limit applies all day and all night.

Reduced speed limit for Hume Freeway near Wodonga
Local politician Bill Tilley MLA wants the intersection to be replaced with a flyover. Photo by Tracey Holmes.

 

A notorious intersection on the Hume Freeway near Wodonga, Victoria, is expected to reopen today (September 14) after months of roadworks.

The intersection – where McKoy Street and Old Barnawartha Road meet the Hume – is well known to truck drivers because an 80km/h speed limit has been in place from 7am to 7pm since 2015.

The 80km/h zone along about 1km of the freeway has now been extended from 12 hours a day to 24, on a trial basis.

The 24/7 speed limit was prompted by feedback from the freight industry and some McKoy Street businesses. Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) will seek feedback when the speed limit is reviewed later this year.

The roadworks were funded by United Petroleum which is building a 24-hour service station near the intersection. VicRoads also spent about $40,000 to improve safety.

The trial of the fixed 80km/h speed limit was announced yesterday by RRV regional director, North Eastern, Nicki Kyriakou.

"This is an area that already experiences conflict from local traffic entering and exiting a high-volume freeway environment," Kyriakou says.

"When the service station development was first proposed in 2017, we objected because of the increased traffic movements it would bring to this key intersection 24 hours a day."


HUME BLACKSPOT CONTROVERSY


United Petroleum won an appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and the service station is now under construction. A condition of the permit required United Petroleum to upgrade the intersection.

The 12-hour 80km/h speed restriction was introduced to this section of the freeway in 2015, in response to 18 crashes which injured 31 people between 2007 and 2015.

"Our modelling suggests that the extension of this speed zone to all hours will add only 15 seconds to journey times," Kyriakou says.

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U-TURNS ON THE HUME

The design of the upgraded intersection prevents traffic travelling directly across the freeway from McKoy Street to Old Barnawartha Road or vice versa. This traffic must instead turn left, use new U-turn lanes, and then turn left again.

Traffic will also use the U-turn lanes to turn right from the freeway into McKoy Street or Old Barnawartha Road; to continue north on the freeway from McKoy Street; or to continue south on the freeway from Old Barnawartha Road.

Turning lanes are provided to prevent vehicles congesting the freeway while they wait to perform a U-turn.

Local politician Bill Tilley MLA has described the new design as a ‘dog’s breakfast’ and is among many who want it replaced with a flyover.

RRV is conducting a Hume Freeway Access Improvement Planning Study which will propose a long-term solution for the Wodonga intersection.

Our full report in the October issue of Owner//Driver Magazine includes comments from Wodonga truck drivers and business people who are concerned about safety at the intersection.

Owner//Driver has invited United Petroleum to comment.

(Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) is the state’s new dedicated country roads body – a division of VicRoads.)

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