Motorists confused by upgrade
UPDATED, 1.40pm Tuesday:
ROADS and Maritime Services (RMS) has stated it carried out extensive planning and community consultation when designing and building the Banora Point Pacific Highway upgrade (initial report below).
A RMS spokeswoman said detailed traffic management plans for the approaches to Minjungbal Dr, Shallow Bay Dr and Rivendell Estate were included in the consultation and planning process and traffic flow measures were put in place to ensure safe, easy movements onto the roundabout.
Advance direction signs and an overhead sign along the southbound exit to Tweed Heads South were also installed giving motorists advance directions for their destination.
The road length available to merge left from the middle lane to enter Rivendell Estate was in accordance with road design guidelines and RMS said it would monitor traffic at the upgrade to ensure all safety and traffic measures put in place were effective.
INITIAL REPORT, 5am Tuesday:
THE design of a number of features of the Banora Point Pacific Highway Upgrade has been criticised by motorists and businesses and called outright dangerous by some.
Top of the list of complaints is a new concrete divider which has the potential to trap traffic coming off the highway from the north, in the far left lane of Minjungbal Dr.
Drivers who fail to notice the instructions on a newly erected sign or who are confused, are easily caught in the left lane and then forced to cross two busy lanes to make the turn into Shallow Bay Dr.
Motorists also complain about getting caught in the middle lane of Minjungbal Dr when exiting the highway from the south or when coming from Banora Point.
Once stuck in the middle lane, turning left into Rivendell Estate becomes difficult as drivers need to wait until there is enough room to move into the left lane and the new design gives drivers only 60m to change lanes.
Further complaints focus on the entry and exit to and from Banora Point and the daily traffic jams at the intersection of the old Pacific Hwy and Darlington Dr.
Banora Point driver Melissa Ponferrada said before the changes, she had easy access to Tweed Heads South and Minjungbal Dr but the installation of traffic lights at the Darlington Dr intersection with the old Pacific Highway caused daily jams and resulted in delays.
"If you're travelling through the area then the new road is great but for local residents it's not that good.
"People living in Banora Point got a bad deal," Melissa said.
A Tweed Hub petrol station manager said his business had lost around 60% of its turnover and although the upgrade was nearly finished he didn't expect to see an improvement.
The new design pushed through-traffic towards to centre lanes, bypassing the entrance to his petrol station and only local traffic actually passed the entry to his store.
It was drivers on a long run who filled up their tanks and bought items in the store but these motorists were now led away from his business.
A sports store manager said business had improved slightly now the new road was nearly finished.
However, improved signage could make a big difference.
The RTA had put directions to the Coolangatta/Tweed Heads Golf Club on a sign above the highway turnoff but failed to put instructions how to access Tweed Hub.
If the golf club warranted directions then why not Tweed Hub, he commented.