Victory for residents at dangerous Ballina intersection
AFTER close to five years of lobbying, the residents of Ballina Heights have received the gift of a Christmas light that is more about road safety than decoration, and they’re very happy about it.
Ballina Shire Council installed a solar light at the junction of Tamarind Dr and Deadmans Creek Rd at the northern approach to Ballina in the lead-up to the festive season.
Senior vice-president of the Cumbalum Residents’ Association Inc, Alan Veacock, said the word from residents of the Ballina Heights estate is that the light is “brilliant”.
Residents had been expressing safety concerns about the poor visibility at the intersection over many years.
“On rainy, dark nights, you couldn’t see that intersection to save your life,” Mr Veacock said.
“There hasn’t been any major incidents -- touch wood.
“But there have been cars that have missed the intersection and ended up in the ditch (on Deadmans Creek Rd).”
He agreed the traffic coming into Ballina on Tamarind Dr was increasing, adding to the need for the intersection to be well lit.
The former Royal Australian Navy electrical engineer began researching solutions to the visibility issue in 2015 and presented the idea for a solar ‘flag light’ to council not long after.
“But if fell on deaf ears,” he said.
A flag light is meant to alert motorists that the intersection is there, rather than illuminate the entire intersection.
Mr Veacock said the stand-off with council staff about the solar light centred on issues of lighting standards.
He said there were no standards for this kind of solar lighting for roads, though Mr Veacock was able to find other examples of their use, along with a US study finding a reduced risk of road accidents when flag lights were installed at intersections.
Following a risk assessment and the nod from council’s insurer, the light was installed.
Mr Veacock said council could use the Deadmans Creek Rd light as a pilot, with the possibility of using the same technology at other non-urban intersections.