'It's a good decision, but...'
FOR experienced road designer Trevor Ferris, the decision to put a roundabout on a busy Yamba intersection is welcome news.
On Tuesday, Clarence Valley Council held an extraordinary meeting to rescind its decision to put traffic lights at the Treelands Drive and Yamba Rd intersection.
Within 90 minutes a decision was made to install a roundabout at a fraction of the cost of the original traffic lights proposal.
"It's a good decision," he said.
"If we have traffic signals installed, while that works well during higher peak times, when it's quieter, like in the evenings, you'd have people sitting at the lights forever which is unnecessary.
"It will slow down the service of Yamba Rd flow as a result.
"The advantage of having a roundabout in this situation is that it will work 24/7 within any type of traffic flow."
With more than 40 years of road design experience, Mr Ferris said a roundabout at that intersection made more sense.
"The running movements of that area are fairly balanced at that intersection," he said.
"There's a strong turning movement to turn onto Yamba Rd. With a roundabout this will create gaps in the traffic flow so it keeps movement of the main road."
Mr Ferris is now semi-retired and living in Yamba but has worked on a number of high-profile roads projects.
"I was involved in several highway and urban design projects including some major motorways like the M2 and M7 in Sydney," he said.
"I had also worked on the Pacific Highway since the mid-1980s on various projects."
These days he focusses his attention on design verification and road safety audits.
As such, Mr Ferris has inevitably found a few potential issues with this decision.
"The downside of this roundabout will be that it's not a good option for pedestrians, so they will need to improve the current crossings," he said.
"The current pavement at the intersection will also need a full reconstruction."
Based on his experience, Mr Ferris said construction of the new roundabout would take about 12 months.
"Construction is going to be difficult in that position," he said.
"It's going to be a pretty big disruption to through traffic."