Premier Bob Carr hailed it “a great day for the shire” when, in November, 2002, traffic lights replaced the accident-plagued roundabout at the Five Ways Miranda.
The roundabout had become the worst “black spot” in the state for minor accidents, with NRMA figures showing there were 1188 vehicles involved in crashes between July, 1998, and June, 2000.
This was more than twice the number at the second ranked location – the “Meccano Set” at the intersection of Hume Highway, Henry Lawson Drive and Woodville Road, Lansdowne.
Removing the roundabout and installing traffic lights cost more than $7 million.
The intersection was made a full roundabout 19 years earlier, although traffic lights, which operated only at certain times, were later introduced on one entry / exit.
There were complaints in 1983, when the intersection was made a full roundabout.
The Leader reported most of the complaints were from parents concerned for the safety of children crossing the road to get to school.
Elderly pedestrians said there was no safe place to cross.
The director of the NSW Traffic Authority Harry Camkin defended the change, saying the intersection would now be able to handle 40,000 vehicles a day.
“Roundabouts offer advantages for motorists, pedestrians, councils and the community,” he said.
Mr Camkin said roundabouts were not the solution for all major roundabouts, but it was right for this location.
Sutherland Traffic Police fully endorsed the roundabout system.
The intersections of Burraneer Bay Road and Gannons Road, Caringbah, and Forest Road and Kiora Road, Miranda, had been virtually accident free since roundabouts were installed, a traffic officer said.
The officer said provision had been made for children to cross the road further from the Five Ways, making it safer for them.
The frequency of accidents at the Five Ways led the Labor candidate for Miranda Barry Collier to promise action before the 1999 election.
After his election, Mr Collier invited Roads Minister Carl Scully to the site and, while they were watching the traffic, a rear-end crash occurred on the Boulevarde / Kiora Road entrance.
In 2001, the government announced the roundabout would be removed and traffic lights installed.
As an interim measure to provide motorists with a clearer view, high vegetation was removed from the nature island and better signage installed.
Work on removing the roundabout started in February 2002 and the project completed nine months later.
It involved the relocation of 1000 metres of stormwater drain lines, 650 metres of water mains and 500 metres m of telecommunications cables.
Thirty five new power poles and 1000 metres of overhead power lines were installed.
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