Northwood Road/River Road Blackspot

    Article Written October 2022
    Updated Article below

    Before the original article published in October 2022 was written, ITC requested information on Lane Cove Council’s plans for the Northwood Road Blackspot.  Several emails were exchanged before ITC wrote the original article. (the Article was originally written with the title Lane Cove Council Fails to Act on Northwood Road/River Road Black Spot).

    After we published this article, a spokesperson for the Lane Cove Council issued the following clarification/response in October 2022.

    Council has investigated two options to improve safety at the intersection and is now exploring a third.

    The first was a proposal to install traffic lights, which was rejected by RMS.

    The second was a roundabout. After further development of the roundabout design it was determined that the environmental impacts and costs meant that this option was not viable.

    We are now working with TfNSW to develop a revised intersection arrangement to improve safety. We will be making a grant application to TfNSW for these improvements under their Safer Roads Program.

    Council has a strong track record of improving road safety and traffic management, including the recent example at Longueville Road/Northwood Road.

    Councillors are thoroughly briefed before each Council meeting to ensure they have the background and context.”

    Original Article

    In 2016 In the Cove asked Lane Cove Council to provide a list of the Top 10 Motor Vehicle Accident Black Spots in Lane Cove.  You can read the full article here.

    The list provided corresponded with the accident blackspot list compiled by ITC (using information, data and photos provided by our very efficient roving reporters).

    Blackspot Priority

    The Lane Cove Council told ITC that the following two blackspots were their priority:

    “The other two areas on Council’s priority list are the intersection of Northwood and River Roads as well as the Kenneth Street/River Road/Longueville Road intersection”

    Last year significant upgrades were made to the Kenneth Street/River Road/Longueville Road intersection (aka the Diddy Intersection).

    However, the Northwood Road/River Road blackspot still remains a blackspot and Lane Cove Council has not implemented any improvements to this intersection.

    Timeline Northwood Road and River Road Black Spot Delays in Improving this Intersection

    April 2015

    A report was presented to Lane Cove Council about this intersection after a Traffic Study was prepared by council officers.  The report stated:

    “At the T-Junction of River Road and Northwood Road, the curve and adverse camber on the eastbound leg of the T-Junction has resulted in off path crashes on River Road approaching Northwood Road.

    Due to the vertical geometry of River Road, vehicles turning right from Northwood Road onto River Road and those vehicles travelling eastbound on River Road have reduced visibility of westbound vehicles.

    These deficiencies in horizontal and vertical geometry, have led to a high number of off-path and right turning crashes at the T-Junction.”

    The crashes which occurred over the past 5 years (July 2009 – June 2014) are shown on a Crash Map.
    The crashes at the intersection of River Road with Northwood Road over the past 5 years (July 2009 – June 2014) are shown on the crash map (Figure 2.1) and the Crash ID is the six digit number shown near each crash, should further information be required.

    Council applied to RMS (now TfNSW) for funding of lights at the intersection of Northwood Road and River Road.  The Lane Cove Council submitted the proposal with upgraded access to Stevenson Street and without upgraded access to Stevenson Street.

    May 12 2016

    In May 2016, ITC reported on an accident at the intersection:

    “A roving reporter has advised that there was another accident on Northwood Rd/River Road near the golf course. 2 cars – one a P plater. All emergency services in attendance. Tow trucks just got here. Glass and bits of car all over the road. One lane in each direction blocked off!
    This is the same intersection where there was a nasty accident with a motorcyclist a few months ago and the Westpac chopper had to land on the Golf Course.”
    October 2016

    Lane Cove’s local member Anthony Roberts at the request of the Lane Cove Council’s General Manager writes to the then Minister for Roads Duncan Gay and asks for action on this notorious blackspot.

    5 July 2019

    An ITC reader asked for witnesses to the following accident:

    Accident Friday 5th July at approximately 5:15 pm off River Road and Northwood Road.
    An ITC follower needs your help.
    “I was turning right off River Rd into Northwood Rd. A blue sedan hit me from behind, causing severe damage to the car. The driver left the scene before leaving his details. If anyone has dashcam footage or witnessed the accident, I would appreciate it if you contact me.”
    The following comments were posted after this information request was published.
    19 April 2021

    The following appeared in the draft 2021/2022 Budget Papers tabled at the April 2021 Lane Cove Council Meeting.

    New Roundabout in Northwood Includes the construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of River Road / Northwood Road/ Stevenson Street to improve safety. The value of works is estimated at $3,000,000 and includes property acquisition.”

     20 April 2021

    A roundabout at Northwood Road/River Road/Stevenson Street solution was discussed at the Lane Cove Traffic Committee.   Background Information provided to Traffic Committee stated:

    “River Road is an east-west regional road with the intersection of River Road with Northwood Road providing access to the suburb of Northwood (via Northwood Road) and the suburb of Longueville (via Arabella Street).

    River Road carries on average 21,300 vehicles daily (seven-day AADT – 2015).

    There is a history of crashes at the intersection of River Road and Northwood Road, particularly head-on and off path crashes.

    Over a five-year period, (July 2013-June 2018), the intersection of Northwood Road and River Road has had a total of 10 crashes, including six injuries.

    Council applied for funding under the Safer Roads Program to undertake a detailed design for a roundabout to address the off-road and head-on crash”

    The roundabout proposal background information concluded with the following:

    “The project addresses a long-standing blackspot in River Road. Council was successful in gaining funding under the Safer Roads Program to undertake the design for the proposed roundabout. Given it is necessary infrastructure to improve road safety for all road users, no public consultation is required [ITC Emphasis].”

    Information Provided by Lane Cove Council – only includes data when incident reported to police

    May 2021

    Lane Cove Council resolved to adopt the Traffic Committee’s resolution to install a roundabout at River Road and Northwood Road to improve safety.

    September 2022

    Lane Cove Council resolved (Resolution 190) not to proceed with the roundabout option.  The decision was made on the basis that the roundabout was not an appropriate access point for the proposed Multi-Sport and Recreation Facility.

    Why was a specific resolution of the Traffic Advisory Committee dismissed while Lane Cove Council was discussing another project?

    The briefing paper proposing resolution 190 did NOT include any justification or reports on why the safety issues outlined above no longer apply and why the roundabout option will no longer proceed.

    How can an important blackspot safety issue on the Council agenda for a considerable period of time (at least 2015) be dismissed without any discussion on safety?

    This matter should be the subject of a specific briefing paper by council staff.   Lane Cove Councillors should specifically resolve to proceed or not to proceed with improvements to this intersection after being duly briefed on the safety issues (bearing in mind that six of the councillors are new this term and have not had the benefit of being fully briefed on the history of this matter and why a roundabout was suggested by Lane Cove Council).



    To research this article, In the Cove asked Lane Cove Council for a copy of the application made by Lane Cove Council under the Safer Roads Program to undertake the design for the proposed Northwood/River Road roundabout – the application was made in 2020 (as the roundabout plans are dated 17 November 2020).   Lane Cove Council would not provide a copy of the application.  Usually, when Lane Cove Council does not provide access to documents, ITC has to make a GIPA application (like an FOI).  The cost is $30 per application, and the processing fee ITC charged usually starts at $150.00.

    After a further request, the crash information table above was provided but not a copy of the full application.

    Our Cover Photo – a roving reporter took this photo on 23 March 2021

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