TWO pairs of new speed limit road signs have appeared on the South Gippsland Highway at Foster, located on either side of where the highway intersects with the Fish Creek-Foster Road, known locally as the Toora Road.
Even though they are largely still shrouded in plastic and not yet in service, the warning signs’ wording is discernible; “70 AHEAD”, and below in smaller letters, “SIDE ROAD ACTIVATED”.
The signs mark the completion of another stage in Regional Roads Victoria’s (RRV) current safety improvement project to install Side Road Activated Speed (SRAS) technology at the infamous T-junction at the main entrance to Foster.
SRAS uses speed detection equipment and electronic signs to warn drivers travelling along a major road of any vehicles approaching the main road from side roads, as well as vehicles that are slowing to turn right from the main road.
When in operation the SRAS signs will automatically and temporarily lower the South Gippsland Highway’s usual 100-kmh speed limit to 70 kmh, alerting drivers on the main road to slow down in order to lessen the likelihood and severity of crashes.
The reduced speed limit will remain on display until there are no more vehicles on the side road waiting to enter the highway, nor any vehicles turning right into the side road from the highway.
Additional flexible safety barriers were placed along the South Gippsland Highway to the east and west of the intersection in July 2021 to protect the coming electronic vehicle sensors and speed signs.
RRV had originally expected that Foster’s SRAS project would be completed by September, however the recent COVID-prompted construction industry shutdown has meant that it is now scheduled to be operating by mid-December.
State Department of Transport’s Gippsland Region Acting Director Henry Lam said “we are targeting more than 200 intersections across Victoria.
“These intersections are receiving safety improvements under the Victorian Government’s high-speed, high-risk intersections program to drive down road trauma and save lives,” he said.
“We’re improving road safety at the intersection of the South Gippsland Highway and Fish Creek-Foster Road by installing side road activated speed signs to help reduce the risk of serious collisions.”
An RRV spokesman said the locations being upgraded in the Government’s $25 million High-Risk Intersection Program had been selected based on data including crash history and traffic volumes, intersection geometry, poor visibility and sight distance issues, and potential for future crashes.
“About 30 per cent of deaths and 43 per cent of serious injuries on Victorian roads result from crashes at intersections,” they said.
“Between 2012 and 2019, there have been five crashes on the South Gippsland Highway at the intersection with Fish Creek-Foster Road, four of which involved failing to give way.
“Our investigations showed that drivers failed to select gaps in traffic and collided with through-traffic travelling on the South Gippsland Highway,” the spokesman said.
“When a vehicle on the Fish Creek – Foster Road approaches the South Gippsland Highway with a 100km/h speed limit, it will trigger an electronic speed sign on the highway to reduce the speed limit to 70km/h.”
The High-Speed Intersections Program is part of the $1.4 billion being spent by the Victorian Government to reduce road trauma.
See how SRAS works at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opo9FpuRhkw.