THE Hume Freeway’s new 80km/h intersection is a “disaster waiting to happen”, says a veteran Border truckie who held up traffic as he negotiated it on Friday.
The McKoy Street intersection in west Wodonga was opened to traffic on Friday afternoon after four months of reshaping.
Northbound freeway drivers have to loop back if they are turning right into McKoy Street and a similar situation confronts southbound motorists accessing Old Barnawartha Road.
Rutherglen owner-operator truck driver Peter Atkins crossed into McKoy Street twice in the first few hours of the site opening and on both occasions oncoming southbound vehicles were forced to slow to allow his B-double to turn.
“It’s pretty hard work taking off (from the median strip) because of the incline and tri-axle grips dragging,” Mr Atkins said.
“It’s a disaster waiting to happen, it really is.”
Mr Atkins, who has been a truckie for 35 years, said there were also visibility concerns for him looking north and those heading south as he crossed to McKoy Street.
“It was easier to tackle the way it was, people could see you,” he said.
The North Eastern director of VicRoads successor Regional Roads Victoria, Nicki Kyriakou, repeated her view yesterday that the altered intersection was safer than its previous incarnation.
“It is safer than what was there before,” Ms Kyriakou told ABC radio Goulburn Murray on Friday morning.
“Vehicles can now prop in the intersection there, trucks this is, without their trailers having to overhang on to a freeway environment, which is quite a dangerous situation.”
As the recast intersection was opened to traffic, police set up a speed radar gun aimed at northbound traffic.
Within the first hour of the speed limit returning to 80 km/h from the roadworks maximum of 60 km/h three lead foot drivers were nabbed.
A Wangaratta man was recorded at 104 km/h in his silver Toyota Aurion en route to Thurgoona.
He received a fine of $322 and lost three demerit points.
Wodonga police officer Leading Senior Constable Neil Hobbs said exceeding 80 km/h was indefensible.
“You pass through three signs with the speed on them, so you’ve got no excuse at all,” he said.