Published on 04 July 2024

High-tech McLaren Vale warning signs switched on

High-tech warning signage is now in place at three McLaren Vale intersections – the latest upgrades in a $4.98 million project to improve road safety.

The upgrades use Rural Junction Active Warning Systems (RJAWS) technology – road signs equipped with a radar that activates a flashing light warning system – at the following intersections:

  • Seaview Road, Coppermine Road and Olivers Road
  • Aldinga Road, California Road and Olivers Road
  • Malpas Road and California Road.

RJAWS will also soon be installed at two more intersections – Main Road, Malpas Road and Binney Road; and Bayliss Road and Communication Road.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were said the new signage aims to improve driver awareness by providing advance notice of the upcoming intersections, ultimately enhancing the rural roads’ safety.

“The goal is to significantly reduce the likelihood of high-speed collisions and minimise their impact, acknowledging that while people make mistakes, those mistakes shouldn’t cost anyone’s life or health,” she said.

“These signs are on the cutting edge of road safety technology in South Australia and they’re helping McLaren Vale to become one of the country’s safest wine regions.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the final intersection upgrades completed, and I thank the state and federal governments, with the support of Leon Bignell MP, for their funding and collaboration.

“This is a great example of the three spheres of government working together – combining local knowledge, tech smarts, investment and a shared commitment to saving lives.”

Leon Bignell MP said the project was a great collaboration between state and local governments.

“I want to thank the engineers and workers who have been busy installing these upgrades across the McLaren Vale wine region,” he said.

“We have had too many serious injury and fatal car crashes and I took a commitment to the last election that the state government would fund the safety upgrades.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Onkaparinga Council as they have rolled out the intersection safety upgrades.”

Enhanced warning signage had already been installed at 14 McLaren Vale intersections as part of the wider 21 intersections project prior to the RJAWS upgrades.

Construction is scheduled to commence on the project’s two most significant upgrades – which involve ‘teardrop’ islands (Main/Johnston/McMurtrie Road intersection) and a compact roundabout (Chalk Hill/Olivers Road intersection) – in September.

How RJAWS works

If you’re approaching at a high speed on the minor road, the technology will activate stop/give way signs, causing the edges to flash in bright red. This additional warning signal will prompt you to slow down, reducing the risk of collisions.

If you’re on the major road where you have right of way, a Variable Message Sign (VMS) will activate, alerting you that a vehicle is approaching from the side road. This notification serves to heighten awareness, increase reaction times, and allows for a safer response if the driver on the minor road fails to stop and appears likely to proceed through the intersection.

About the 21 intersections project

In 2021, the City of Onkaparinga undertook an audit of the intersections on Main Road between McLaren Vale and Willunga following a series of three fatal and serious injury crashes.

On completion of the audit, a broader assessment was undertaken across the McLaren Vale wine region, identifying a total of 21 intersections with an elevated risk of crashes and associated road trauma.

The City of Onkaparinga then advocated for state government funding for upgrades to improve safety at these intersections, with Leon Bignell MP subsequently making a state government election commitment of $4.2 million to deliver these upgrades.

The council secured a subsequent additional funding contribution of $737,500 in 2023 from the Australian Government’s Black Spot Program for the intersection upgrade of Main, Johnston and McMurtrie Roads. All upgrades are anticipated to be completed by June 2025.

Both the state government’s Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) and City of Onkaparinga have individual and shared responsibility for roads in the area, with DIT responsible for roads such as Main and Aldinga Roads, while council is responsible for adjoining local roads.

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A flashing warning sign is activated as a silver SUV drives past it on a rural McLaren Vale road with vineyards in the background.