Melbourne gets another P-turn with Swan Street changes

Updated March 17, 2019 18:42:48

Melbourne’s road rules are set to get a little more confusing for visitors and commuters alike, with the introduction of the P-turn to one of the city’s busiest intersections.

Drivers turning right from Punt Road to Swan Street in Richmond are required to use the new manoeuvre from today.

What exactly is a P-turn?

The new turn will see motorists turn left at the intersection, then do a U-turn a little further along the road.

Bryce Prosser from motoring organisation RACV said for drivers heading north, to complete a turn from Punt Road onto Swan Street, they must turn left onto Olympic Boulevard then complete a U-turn, heading east back through the intersection.

“For drivers heading south who wish to turn right from Punt Road onto Olympic Boulevard they should use the right-hand turn lanes before the intersection.

“And to turn right from Swan Street onto Punt Road, proceed through the intersection along Olympic Boulevard, perform a U-turn, then turn left onto Punt Road,” Mr Prosser said.

“Drivers can no longer turn [right] from Olympic Boulevard onto Punt Road.”

He said the P-turn, or “remote right turn”, would take drivers some time to get used to.

“These changes are designed to improve traffic flow through one of Melbourne’s busiest and often most congested intersections,” he said.

“All the new turns should be clearly marked, but motorists using the intersection should take extra care.”

More ‘go time’

Brendan Pauwels of the Major Road Projects Authority said the aim was to remove drivers turning right from the middle of the intersection to reduce delays for north-south and east-west traffic movements.

Pink and blue temporary line markings will be used to help guide motorists as they come to grips with the new arrangements.

Traffic controllers will also be at the scene for the first few days to help confused drivers.

It is not the first time Melburnians will have to re-think the way they turn right.

Last year, a similar turn was introduced to the busy Hoddle and Johnston Street intersection.

Mr Pauwels said that change “bedded in pretty quickly”, helped reduce delays on Hoddle Street and made it easier for drivers coming off the Eastern Freeway.

He said he was hopeful P-turns at Punt and Swan would also help improve travel times.

“We expect some similar results by being able to reallocate that 40 per cent of time that is currently allocated to right turn movements,” he said, adding it would provide more “go time” for the main movements through the intersection.

He said no more P-turns were planned at this stage, but engineers would closely watch traffic flows to see if there was potential for more P-turns to be introduced in the future.

Avoid the area this weekend

According to the authority, the new intersection includes:

  • A right turn lane to turn right from Punt Road to Olympic Boulevard
  • A P-turn to turn right from Swan Street to Punt Road
  • A P-turn to turn right from Punt Road to Swan Street
  • No right turn from Olympic Boulevard to Punt Road

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan advised motorists to avoid the area over the weekend.

“From Sunday morning new temporary coloured line marking and directional signs will guide hundreds of thousands of drivers through Victoria’s first continuous flow intersection,” she said in a statement.

“We’ve made these changes at one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections to give drivers on Punt Road and Hoddle Street more go time at green lights.

“We’re asking drivers to avoid the Punt Road and Swan Street intersection on Saturday evening where possible while our crews complete the finishing touches to this brand-new intersection.”

The change is part of the Streamlining Hoddle Street project, one of the Andrews Government’s major infrastructure initiatives.

Slated for completion by year’s end, the project promises new 24-hour clearway zones, longer periods of green lights and a dedicated bus lane to ease congestion on Hoddle Street.

The arterial route is used by 330,000 people every day.

Construction was delayed last year when a small amount of asbestos was found, but Victoria’s Major Road Projects Authority is still projecting it will be finished by late 2019.

A similar turn has been in place in Frankston — at the intersection of Cranbourne Road and Moorooduc Highway — for a decade.

The turn has been controversial in the area, with the local council unsuccessfully lobbying to have it removed after the construction of the Peninsula Link bypass.

RMIT transport academic Nirajan Shiwakoti said the idea was imported from the United States and was intended to stop right-turning vehicles blocking traffic going straight.

“The overseas experience shows that it does have benefits, in terms of traffic flow,” he said.

Melbourne is already the home of the hook turn, in which drivers turn right from the left hand side of the road — a simple move for locals, which can strike fear into the hearts of visitors.

Topics: community-and-society, urban-development-and-planning, work, road-transport, vic, richmond-3121, melbourne-3000

First posted March 17, 2019 09:14:09

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