Merging trial on freeway begins

How merging works at trial spots on the freeway.
How merging works at trial spots on the freeway.

In a trial being run by Main Roads WA, the new markings ” added to existing merge points at Russell Road, Beeliar Drive and Berrigan Drive ” indicate to drivers in the merging lane that they must give way to nearby traffic regardless of which vehicle is in front.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the six-week trial, based on a design used in Victoria and modified for WA, was part of the State Government’s effort to free up congestion on the freeway.

‘(Motorists) will need to be mindful of people coming through on the freeway system but hopefully the length (of the on-ramps) are long enough that they can see the traffic and merge safely,’ he said.

‘This is just a trial and we want to see if it can work and improve things. It is a frustration that people in WA are expressing to us and we’re trying to do something to see if we can’t improve it.’

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said the markings would ‘add to the chaos and confusion on our roads’.

‘If they wanted this to have any chance at working, they really need to be extending the on-ramps to allow drivers more time to merge safely,’ he said.

‘The best way to improve merging on Perth roads is to educate the poor drivers. Good merging requires drivers to show common sense and courtesy to others.’

RAC corporate affairs general manager Will Golsby said there was no single solution to Perth’s congestion problem.

‘A suite of measures are needed, including building better roads, investing in public transport and delivering greater efficiencies from our existing infrastructure,’ he said.

‘Correctly merging, giving way to others where required and allowing a safe distance between vehicles are all simple driving behaviours motorists can also adopt to help reduce the impact of congestion.’

Electronic surveillance has been set up at the three trial points to monitor how people are merging. An analysis will be undertaken following the trial before the markings are considered for wider use.

Motorists are able to give feedback on the trial via the Main Roads website.