Gap pedestrian crossing to go

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The controversial pedestrian crossing at The Gap will be removed, according to a well informed source.

 

The crossing was built with a Federal grant of $300,000 but many people crossing the Stuart Highway in that location have by-passed the facility.

 

This has made the danger even worse because pedestrians are crossing the road where drivers are not expecting them to.

 

The Alice Springs News Online reported the problems soon after the crossing was opened.

 

We also understand that the speed limit there will be reduced from 70 khm to 60 kmh.

 

Road train operators have found the narrow passage between the structure and a safety island in the middle of the road difficult to negotiate.

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21 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Rod Cramer
    Posted November 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    It’s not helpful that there is so much spite, hysteria and misinformation in some comments, and sight is lost of the facts. (This is not the work of the Council, but of the NTG, so it won’t affect your rates. And I have on good authority local bureaucrats did not propose or endorse the concept, they were instructed to implement it regardless, from “on high”.)
    I don’t believe the walkway is the best solution, and I agree, it is certainly not in the best spot, and a lot of money has again been wasted. But I too travel that road several times a day, and have seen more and more folk use it. Having attended several stakeholder meetings on the issue, I understand that residents (as opposed to visitors) of Little Sisters Camp are pleased it is there, but has anyone asked those avoiding it why they choose too? That would a useful exercise, before some other equally inappropriate desktop solution is implemented.
    I agree with Liz Martin, pool / mesh fencing is essential on the road side, and also better lighting. Some form of slight backlighting would be very useful.
    The two rails in the centre are removable, but unfortunately in the instance of the first wide loads through there, the need to arrange for the removal had not been flagged where needed, and they turned up after 4.21 on a Friday. The new Power Station generators would still get past.
    I don’t believe road trains (except those driven by “cowboys”) have any particular difficulty with the width of the lanes there (which started as a stupid comment in the Advocate), their issue is more to do with the consequences of any emergency braking.
    I’m curious as to what problems Brian sees with the south exit of the Tom Brown Roundabout? This roundabout is far from perfect, particularly its stupid signage, and inherent problems in all multi-lane roundabouts, but I’ve not experienced what he apparently has.
    A NTG study has been commissioned looking at safety south of the TBR to at least Ilparpa Rd, but unfortunately its focus is on pedestrian safety only. So the first outcome will be reduced speed limits I expect.

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  2. Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I note the comment posted by Anonymous “about previous studies (commissioned by Council and Government) and associated recommendations on traffic management within and south of the Gap” and that I “may be able to quote several of these previous studies straight away.”
    Well, I could comment quite a lot about the history of traffic management and future requirements of development through the Gap as perceived by government authorities stretching back several decades. But what’s the point? Nobody takes any notice.
    Recently I came across a quote originally published in The Wall Street Journal some time in the 1980s, and it hasn’t lost its relevance to Central Australia: “All government programmes have three stages – a beginning, a muddle, and no end.”
    Welcome to the REAL Central Australia!

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  3. Sensible Steve
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Hey Stephen, you’re right! It’s bloody dangerous. We had a quick poll around the office and it was decided you should lay across the road and be used for a speed hump! Problem solved!

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  4. Bruce: 25 Yr+ Disgruntled Ratepayer
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    What insanity resulted in this project? Total waste of our money. I’m very annoyed! So it was planning by DIPE/DCI?
    Well, that about explains everything I need to know. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands to remove the monstrosity?
    Always wondered what would happen when one of those large vehicles carrying mining gear tried to get through the Gap.
    Remember the huge generators that wheeled though town couple years back. No chance!
    There doesn’t even seem the ability to temporarily remove the central railing. “Planning by NTG” seems an oxymoron.

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  5. Morgan Flint
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    The so-called pedestrian crossing for the people from Little Sisters, cost in the vicinity of $1.3m, not the $300 000, as quoted.
    And rather than demolish the “folly”, why not erect six very bright lights to protect both drivers and pedestrians?

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  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Liz, before you advocate the spending of more money on more reports, do a Freedom of Information request seeking a list of the previous studies (commissioned by Council and Government) and associated recommendations on traffic management within and south of the Gap. Use that information to formulate a brief of exactly what you want the new study to achieve. Alex Nelson may be able to quote several of these previous studies straight away.

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  7. Brian
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    When will the South exit to the Tom Brown Roundabout be fixed? Surely this is more dangerous at present than the pedestrian crossing? Hopefully it’s not repaired by the same people who have already done it twice before.

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  8. Liz Martin
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I too am thankful that this controversial and dangerous pedestrian crossing will FINALLY be removed. If we end up wasting $400k and save the lives of a few kids then so be it.
    My biggest concern from day one has been that small, and not so small children jump through the safety rails straight onto the road and into the traffic. Despite my many requests to have the roadside railing meshed or pool-fenced for safety no-one really gave it any serious thought. However, the best outcome is that it will now be going.
    My other concerns were also the danger created by drinkers milling in the area and the difficulty faced by heavy vehicles and indeed all road users. I personally was involved in several close calls. Congrats Peter Styles for getting rid of it. This is Australia’s No #1 Highway, surely an overpass would have cut it better.
    Now, let’s call for a full traffic management study plan in this area. It is a crucial access point to our town (power, water, gas, road, rail, pedestrians etc) and there are a myriad of other issues that have to be addressed in conjunction with each other – not as stand alone matters as this crossing was. I cannot believe we made the causeway one way with black spot funding and immediately followed up with other infrastructure intrinsically as dangerous.
    A full traffic management study would need to start at the roundabout and continue down past Ilparpa Road and perhaps beyond.
    We have problems with pedestrians using the bus stops from the temp accommodation and Old Timers, we have trouble with pedestrian crossing the road and crossing the Ghan Line to get to bus-stops. We have problems with pedestrians using the Todd River, the footpath, the causeway and even the railway track inappropriately.
    We have confusion with speed limits. We have traffic stopping to view the Ghan and to photograph our beautiful river, we have potential bottlenecking as the south of the Gap grows.
    To hell with the money. Irrespective of what your political persuasion is or personal thoughts on THIS particular crossing we need to be calling for a FULL traffic management study and in this area.

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  9. Anonymous
    Posted October 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Do a Freedom of Information request.

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  10. Bush Teacher
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    No need to politicise this Steve, governments decide on funding, but it is departments that do the logistics and advise the best traffic solution. Nothing much changes with a change of government, so it’s not a Labor / CLP issue, except perhaps that the CLP may be less likely to reduce the speed limit to make the existing crossing safer.

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  11. Steve Brown
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I don’t know what planet your from Bob but you seem to suffer convenient blindness each time you nearly see something that doesn’t suit your argument!
    Hardly anyone uses the Pedestrian crossing I know I drive past it many times each day people are crossing where they’ve always crossed before patronising bureaucrats decided that they should walk elsewhere.
    During the bureaucratic argument for the crossing to stay I was informed that Little Sister Camp wanted it there! “Really” why then not use it and why then did the Territory Governments original report clearly state that residents wanted the crossing 100 meters south of its present position?
    Just because some bureaucrat stuffed up and we the tax payer paid for it, doesn’t mean we should just shut up and subject ourselves to the perils of this crossing, giving up the lives of our citizenry to it from now until eternity!
    The crossing is dangerous at any speed.
    The people have spoken loud and clear! The crossing as it is, where it is, is unacceptably dangerous to human life!
    For once Bob and here is a lesson for you “Our Government Listened”! And despite their embarrassment were prepared to do something about It!
    Keep that in mind Bob if God Forbid we ever end up with another Labor Government!
    Thank you NT Government for the gutsy decision it will save lives. And good on all of you Alicespringsites who stood up and made it known that we would not just roll over on this crossing as good old Bob would have us do.

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  12. Hal Duell
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    How many pedestrian fatalities have there been over the last decade in the stretch of highway between Heavitree Gap and the turnoff to the tip?
    Instead of removing the crossing all together, why not just remove all that obstruction in the middle of the road, drop the speed limit between the Tom Brown roundabout and Commonage Road and add good signage warning of pedestrians.

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  13. Wahoon
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    A few have commented about road traffic. But also spare a thought for train drivers too who quite often come across pedestrians where there should not be pedestrians. In a train, it is a bit hard to swerve around.

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  14. Bush Teacher
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Probably should not have been built but that doesn’t mean it should be removed, $300K to build, $100K to remove, another $300K (?) to provide an alternative. Lower the speed limit and conduct long term trial.

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  15. Bob Durnan
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    A lot of pedestrians have been using the new crossing since it opened in May. Will there be any evaluation of its relative merits before a decision is made about its future?
    Has it actually caused any serious accidents?
    If it is demolished, what safety arrangements will be made for pedestrians in this area?

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  16. Richard Bentley
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    It is interesting to read this article this afternoon after coming through the gap at midday today. Five people were crossing with due care at the designated crossing point as I approached.
    I believe that it would be normal to have all the infrastructure, plus lower speeds and maybe even lights in a situation like this in most parts of Australia. So before pouring $300K down the drain at least give the lower speed limit a try. I think 50 kph or lower would be appropriate.

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  17. Kelly
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Felt for those truck drivers with about three or four carriages, trying to keep them straight to go inbetween the island and the built up area. What a waste of our taxpayers’ money, and yes we will be hit with increased rates again, home owners.

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  18. Pete Hendo
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    This crossing was a joke right from when DIPE first thought of it. It went through many planning phases because it sits on top of the main Gas line for the town. Everyone knew it was in the wrong place … except the Govt engineers.
    A massive waste of taxpayers money and personally, I reckon it was a hell of a lot more than $300K.

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  19. Nimby
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Won’t be much different to Alice’s new “frogger”.

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  20. Nimby
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Total joke. Anyone fancy a walk across the Todd in the dark?

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  21. Dave Purdue
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Well what a bloody joke … another $300,000 gone to waste!

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