Speed limit cut on Messmate Road

January 30, 2020 BY

One of the new wildlife warning signs on Messmate Road - this one is at the Surf Coast Highway end. Photo: JAMES TAYLOR

THE speed limit on Torquay’s Messmate Road has been lowered, but only by half as much as more than 2,700 petitioners would like.

The petition, submitted to the council in December, urged the council to reduce the speed limit on a newly sealed section of Messmate Road between the Surf Coast Highway and Coombes Road from 100kmh to 60kmh as well as set up wildlife warning signage.

The petition, with 2,760 signatures, stated the changes were “necessary for the safety of motorists and local wildlife”, as developments in North Torquay had infringed upon the kangaroos’ natural corridors and made it difficult for them to move safely around the surrounding areas, and that this problem was likely to worsen in the future.

The council formally responded to the petition at their January 21 meeting.

The officers’ report on the petition noted the council’s speed limit assessment on this road based on VicRoads Speed Zoning guidelines confirmed the appropriate speed limit for the section was 80kmh, which was consistent with vehicle speed limits in other similar surrounding roads of Coombes, Grossmans and Ghazeepore roads.

“Council officers would not recommend a reduction to 60kmh as it would provide inconsistencies within the existing network and would not be supported by Regional Road Victoria.”

The council has also put up wildlife warning signage at both ends of the section but this move was criticised during public question time by Jodie Oliver, who said the signage was “stock standard” and “the council have admitted these signs had limited impact on changing driver behaviour and speed”.

The council’s general manager of governance and infrastructure Anne Howard said putting up the signs was “something that Council can actually do, under its own power, and it doesn’t need VicRoads to approve it”.

She said the council had not put up “dusk to dawn” signage because “we have had a number of wildlife accidents that have occurred during the day”.

“So if we tell drivers this occurs dusk to dawn, you can send a message that implies that it’s okay during the day and it’s not necessarily okay.

“Because we have lowered the speed limit overall, we think that that’s actually going to help that. Hopefully this gives drivers more time, to drive more slowly, be more aware of the road and actually respond if there is an animal.”