'People don't see the stop sign': Locals demand safety upgrades at Monarto intersection

A serious crash on the Old Princes Highway has prompted locals to speak out about the Old Princes Highway and Schenscher Road crossroads.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

Locals Barry Gale, Melissa Wegener, Jamie DeFazio, Neil, Anne and Aaron Williss, Melanie Reiffel and Jodie Wegener want an urgent fix to the intersection of the Old Princes Highway and Schenscher Road. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Everyone here has a nightmare story to tell about these crossroads at Monarto South.

Neil Williss remembers miraculously missing a truck that pulled out in front of him 10 years ago.

Jodie Wegener had the same experience more recently, screeching to a stop with her horn blaring and her kids in the back seat.

Melissa Wegener said that only days ago, a local man had T-boned a car which failed to give way.

Then there was last Tuesday’s crash, which left an Adelaide Hills man seriously hurt and another driver facing criminal charges.

Now local residents are demanding safety improvements at the intersection of the Old Princes Highway, Ferries McDonald Road and Schenscher Road.

The eight who spoke to Murray Bridge News on Monday applauded the Murray Bridge council for installing rumble strips on the northern and southern approaches to the crossroads within days of last week’s accident.

The council also plans to put some extra stop signs in.

But ultimately they want the speed limit to be dropped below 100 kilometres per hour in the area, or – ideally – a roundabout to be installed to force cars and trucks to slow down further still.

Barry Gale has seen the aftermath of accidents at the crossroads too many times.

He believed most had been caused by first-time visitors who had failed to stop when travelling north or south.

“A lot of it is inattentive driving,” he said.

“If you're a driver, your full responsibility is to drive.

“If you want to look at the scenery, you’re not the most appropriate person to be driving, and if you’re in an unfamiliar environment, you should give the roads the care they deserve.”

State MP Adrian Pederick said he was on board with the residents’ campaign.

“I believe that extra stop signs in the middle of the intersection in line with the existing signs would be a (worthwhile) extra safety measure,” he said in a statement.

“Given the expected increase in traffic with the upcoming opening of the new entrance and visitors’ centre at the Monarto Safari Park, further safety measures may include warning lights on both sides of the intersection.”

He, too, urged drivers to be careful.

The safari park is expected to attract 250,000 visitors per year once international travel restrictions are lifted and an expansion, now underway, is completed.

Those visitors will need to travel through the intersection, across the Old Princes Highway, to get to the new park entrance being built on Monarto Road.

About 1300 vehicles travel along the old highway each day, according to the state Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

The department does not track north-south vehicle movements in the area.