Extend Stirling and Crafers SE Freeway on-ramps and create third lane
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We call upon the State Government to extend the Stirling and Crafers South Eastern Freeway on-ramps and create a third lane to prevent accidents, injuries and deaths being caused by merging traffic.
During peak hours, the South Eastern Freeway at the Crafers and Stirling interchange is extremely hazardous. The on-ramps are of particular concern: the Stirling east-bound on-ramp and the Crafers west-bound on-ramp. The two have similar but different circumstances.
The Stirling on-ramp is of particular concern during the morning peak hour at which time there is a large volume of traffic, including trucks, heading for the city. Just before the Stirling exit, the speed limit is reduced from 110 kph to 100 kph and then 90 kph. Because there are only two lanes and a large volume of traffic, it is difficult for drivers already on the freeway to move across to the right hand lane and allow traffic from Stirling to enter the freeway. The entry ramp is both unusually short and on an incline, making it difficult for drivers entering the freeway to see oncoming traffic at a time when they must decide to either speed up to 90 kph and merge, or slow down for a semi-double occupying the left hand lane.
The Crafers on-ramp towards Murray Bridge and Mt Barker has a different set of problems. The critical time of day is evening peak hour, when commuter traffic is returning from the city. Just before the on-ramp, the freeway narrows from three lanes to two, forcing traffic to merge. However, the other complication is that the Stirling exit is located within 500 m of the Crafers on-ramp. Consequently, those exiting at Stirling are already occupying the left hand lane. With a short on-ramp, drivers entering the freeway—and who might also only be travelling 500 m to exit to Stirling—must come up to speed in order to merge with traffic travelling at 100 kph.
Much stress and many accidents have been caused by both situations. Again, because of the shortness of the on-ramps, timid drivers will frequently come to the end of the on-ramp and stop, not only clogging the on-ramp with traffic behind them but also requiring them to reach 90–100 kph in minimal time if they are to safely merge. The problem is compounded in both directions by the large number of interstate trucks travelling on the South Eastern Freeway.
How many accidents, injuries and deaths need to occur before this dangerous problem is solved?
A real viable solution is to widen the Freeway in this area and extend the on-ramps into a third lane between Stirling and Crafers on either side of the Freeway. The areas where these would occur are shown in the map above.
This would give drivers much more distance to safely merge into Freeway traffic and allow locals who are only travelling between Stirling and Crafers to avoid having to merge into the main Freeway traffic altogether. It would also offer timid drivers that still have trouble, a safe exit as they can leave the Freeway at the next exit.
This solution could be integrated into the "South Eastern Freeway - Managed Motorway" plan already announced for this stretch of Freeway.
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