Roundabout design finalised

Tuesday February 2015, 1:30pm

Douglas Shire Council has voted unanimously to go ahead with an unpopular option for the central circle of the Port Douglas entrance roundabout upgrade project.

Council has again pointed out that despite outcry from locals against the design, which is set low the the ground and features only concrete decorations, their hands are completely tied by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), which controls the roundabout. 

DTMR’s safety requirements, including sufficient line of sight and capacity for the roundabout to easily permit the passage of large B-double trucks, mean there is no major vegetation allowed inside the central circle. 

Tourism bodies and Port Douglas residents had expected a larger and more ornate central circle featuring plenty of greenery to act as a memorable ‘entrance statement’ to Port Douglas. 

DTMR has previously stated that it makes ‘no apologies’ for prioritising safety over the roundabout’s visual appeal.

Works on the roundabout’s verges, which will feature large and dense garden beds, are already underway by Mossman-based contractors Papillon Landscapes. 

At Tuesday’s general meeting, councillor David Carey said safety requirements had to come before the appearance of the roundabout. 

“Essentially, it’s a traffic management solution - prettying it up is a secondary concern,” Cr Carey said. 

“DTMR owns this roundabout, not council, and it’s not for council to dictate terms of works on the roundabout.

“Everyone is saying that they want something to grow in there, the reality is that it’s not going to happen.”

While comments on Newsport articles covering the roundabout have been mostly negative, Cr Terry Melchert said he had received plenty of indication that the public were also interested in how safe the roundabout was, as opposed to how good it looked.

“I’ve had more than 40 people contact me saying that they want a safe intersection,” Cr Melchert said. 

“They want their kids safe when the schoolbus is going through it and they want it safe when they are driving through it. 

“DTMR are road safety experts and they have formed an opinion of what is safe - I’m totally behind council in this direction.”

A video report on the roundabout design featuring architect Kate Hewitt and contractors Papillon Landscapes was presented to council during the meeting and is viewable by clicking on the above thumbnail.