A REQUEST to establish a 90km speed zone outside a Margaret River school has been refused by Main Roads WA.
Currently vehicles travel past Margaret River Independent School at speeds in excess of 110km/h causing significant safety concerns for the school.
MRIS Chairperson, Nick Dornan said these concerns relate to continuing near misses at the entrance to the school on Bussell Highway, Forest Grove.
“ We are really concerned about the potential trauma to young students if a serious accident was to occur,” Mr Dornan said.
“There have been two fatal accidents within the last 20 years within 200m of the school both in the afternoon and in good weather conditions.”
Mr Dornan said he is extremely disappointed with Main Roads response.
At the time of press, Transport Minister Troy Buswell had weighed in on the situation.
“I have asked Main Roads to review the matter and consider what options may be available to enhance safety at this location,” Mr Buswell said.
“The outcome of the review is expected shortly and the school will be advised,” he said.
Mr Dornan welcomed Mr Buswell’s intervention saying the issue needs to be addressed quickly.
“Our school is forecast to have a population of 160 students by 2019 ranging from Kindergarten to Year Six. Currently the school has 110 students.
“Main Roads have suggested the school meets the associated cost of developing a slip-way. Besides the fact that the school could not afford to finance this kind of road works, a slip-road will help but it will not solve the issue.
"It will be of little cost to Main Roads to change the speed restriction to 90 km/h adjacent to the school.
“Karridale Primary School has a 90km/h speed zone. Main Roads appears to have treated our school differently now and in the past when the issues would appear to be very much the same.”
Main Roads Traffic Manager South West, Alan McDonald said an assessment of the zoning has been made and the current 110 km/h speed zone matches the function of the road and the traffic management arrangements that exists at this time.
“Bussell Highway is the primary route for passengers and freight from Augusta northwards and carries an average of over 3000 vehicles per day on weekdays,” Mr McDonald said.
“Traffic speed data records show very good compliance with the current zoning.”
Mr Dornan said motorists were complying with the 110km/h zoning.
“However, we consider 110km/h excessive adjacent to a school site and direct observation supports this and this is at the root of our concern. The current school signs that are in place have little or no effect on driver behaviour,” he said.
Mr Dornan said there was a deficiency in the guidelines with respect to schools outside of town sites which needs to be addressed.
“As 40km/h outside most schools reflects a serious concern for the safety of children that does not seem to be reflected in Main Roads response.”