Forest Drive and Nepean Highway Intersection Upgrade

To improve safety and access for all road users, we’re planning to install new traffic lights at the Forest Drive and Nepean Highway intersection in Mount Martha.

Project update

As part of the Forest Drive and Nepean Highway Intersection Upgrade project to provide safer access for road users, we’ve investigated a number of improvement options, including traffic lights and roundabouts.

We evaluated those improvement options using a multi-criteria analysis, with consideration to factors such as safety, congestion, environmental impact, the terrain, feedback from council, cost, and future growth in the area.

Traffic light and roundabout comparison at this intersection

Investigations

As part of this project to provide safer access for road users, we investigated a number of improvement options, including traffic lights and roundabouts.

We evaluated these options using a multi-criteria analysis, considering factors such as safety, congestion, environmental impact, the terrain, feedback from council and future growth in the area.

Based on the findings from these investigations, installing new traffic lights at the Forest Drive and Nepean Highway intersection was the option that best met the multi-criteria analysis.

Options assessment

 

Traffic lights
Roundabout
Safety for vehicles
  • Controls vehicle movement and priority.
  • Reduces the likelihood of potential crashes.
  • Reduces the likelihood of crashes by decreasing the number of potential conflict points.
  • Reduces severity of crashes as vehicles approach a roundabout slower than an unprotected intersection.

Traffic flow and congestion

Every day, there are approximately 18,000 vehicles travelling along Nepean Highway and 5,000 vehicles on Forest Drive.

  • The ‘red/green light’ times on traffic lights can be adjusted as required to improve traffic flow and manage traffic demands from all approaches.
  • Can be linked with other traffic lights at nearby intersections to optimise traffic flow.
  • Roundabouts work best when there is an evenly distributed traffic flow from all approaches, with safe gaps in the traffic to enter the roundabout.
  • Traffic flows are uneven at this intersection—especially during peak hours—with high traffic volumes along Nepean Highway.
  • Therefore, drivers on Forest Drive will find it difficult to find safe gaps when entering the roundabout, and cause congestion on Forest Drive.

Environmental impact

Some vegetation will need to be removed when widening the road to improve traffic operation through the intersection.

To minimise any environmental impacts, we will work closely with key stakeholders to refine the design and construction methods.

  • Smaller environmental footprint compared to a roundabout.
  • Requires a substantial amount of space.
  • Bigger environmental footprint compared to traffic lights and will have a bigger impact on vegetation.
Safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • A signalised pedestrian crossing can be installed at traffic lights to provide a safe place for pedestrians to cross.
  • Dedicated cycling lanes can be installed to help cyclists travel safely through the intersection.
  • A signalised pedestrian crossing can be installed at a roundabout to provide a safe place for pedestrians to cross.
  • Dedicated cycling lanes can be installed to help cyclists travel safely through the intersection.

▇  Ideal

  Acceptable, not ideal

 Not ideal

Based on the findings from technical investigations, the multi-criteria analysis and feedback from key stakeholders, we’re planning to install new traffic lights at the Forest Drive and Nepean Highway intersection.

Construction works are expected to commence in early 2023.

What we’re planning to do 

In addition to new traffic lights, the features of this upgrade include:

  • A new signalised pedestrian crossing to help pedestrians safely cross Nepean Highway, and new concrete footpaths connecting the intersection to the bus stops.
  • Widening the intersection with extra lanes to improve traffic flow and improve access for large vehicles.
  • New continuous bicycle lanes on Nepean Highway, to improve safety and the riding experience for cyclists.
  • New asphalt at the bus bays and vehicle pull over areas, providing an improved road surface for drivers to pick up and drop off passengers.
  • New advanced warning signs on the approach to the intersection, to increase awareness of the upcoming traffic lights.
  • Realigning the driveway opposite to Forest Drive to improve safety at the intersection, with new access provided via Range Road.

Overarching map

Map showing planned new traffic lights and safety upgrades along Forest Drive and Nepean Highway Intersection.

View a larger version of this map

Detailed intersection map

Detailed intersection map of planned upgrades at Forest Drive and Nepean Highway Intersection.

View a larger version of this map

Benefits 

This intersection upgrade will:

  • provide safer and easier access for drivers travelling to and from Forest Drive. 
  • improve safety for vulnerable road users including cyclists and pedestrians.
  • improve traffic flow; the new traffic lights will be linked with traffic lights at nearby intersections to optimise efficiency.
  • help meet the demands of population and economic growth in the area.

Project background

Nepean Highway is a busy arterial road, located close to the eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay. Approximately 18,000 vehicles travel along this highway in Mount Martha every day.

Forest Drive is one of the key intersections along the Nepean Highway providing access into Mount Martha.

This intersection is located at the top of a hill and creates limited visibility for drivers on Forest Drive to see vehicles driving uphill towards the intersection from both sides of Nepean Highway.

Limited visibility and the constant flow of traffic are both contributing factors to why drivers experience difficulties in finding safe gaps to enter into or exit from Forest Drive onto the Nepean Highway.

In the 10 years leading up to March 2020, there has been 6 reported crashes at the Nepean Highway and Forest Drive intersection. Tragically, one person lost their life in these crashes and three people were seriously injured.

This $10 million upgrade has been funded by the Australian Government under the Urban Congestion Fund.

Contact us

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback about the design, please contact us. 

Email:  [email protected]

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