A Kingston intersection which was the scene of a fatal collision in 2019 has received federal government funding for improvements.
Jess West, 37, and her son Deighton, 5, were killed instantly when a prime mover struck their 4WD at the intersection of Kingston Road and Church Parade in the small town between Creswick and Daylesford on December 29, 2019.
Ms West's husband Anthony and the couple's oldest son Oakley were injured in the crash.
Under the government funding program, $456,000 has been announced to 'improve intersection and approach safety at the Kingston Road at Church Parade intersection at Kingston.
"Road crashes place major emotional and economic strains on all affected communities but particularly the families and friends of the victims," Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said in a release announcing the funding.
Kingston resident and CFA volunteer Trace Williams says it's heartbreaking the collision brought about the Black Spot funding, believing Hepburn council needs to address similar intersections throughout the shire.
"Ultimately, the sad fact is it took two fatalities to bring this about," Ms Williams said.
"Had it been just one, we would not have received that funding. The optimum result would be a roundabout, but short of $1.5 million we won't get that.
"The residents will come out in force, totally in favour of it. There is a bit of an issue in relation to speed on the main road, and the trees are too low. But nothing we do will stop someone doing a million miles an hour."
Ms Williams says short of a roundabout at the intersection, it requires stop signs installed on Kingston Road approaching Church Parade and the Allendale-Kingston Road; advance signage to prepare drivers to stop; and rumble strips approaching Kingston Road on the east-west corridor.
She also argues the trees on the roadside need to be trimmed back further to allow vehicles to pass while keeping adequately to the left and not striking limbs.
Hepburn Shire mayor Lesley Hewitt says the funding is welcome and the shire will now meet with Kingston residents to discuss what should happen next.
"We'll be looking at talking to locals, speaking about how the traffic runs there, and doing what we can to improve the intersection," Cr Hewitt told The Courier.
"It's been 18 months since that accident, and it's good it has been recognised as a black spot and it needs to be addressed. We've just become aware that money is available, so we will talk with locals and our appropriate officers to discover the best way to remediate that intersection and use the money.
"It's good, excellent news (to receive the funding) to identify this and we'll be working to fix it, because we don't want the same tragedy happening again."
Ultimately, the sad fact is it took two fatalities to bring this aboutTrace Williams, Kingston resident and CFA volunteer
The Kingston Road-Church Parade intersection is composed of a junction between the two main roads along with what council calls a 'slip lane' branching between the two. In addition, a service road running parallel to Kingston Road intersects with Church Parade.
Shire director of infrastructure and development services Bruce Lucas met with almost 50 Kingston residents in January 2020 to hear concerns about the junction.
"Hepburn has worked really well with VicRoads and the state government to eradicate every Black Spot we've got," Mr Lucas told the gathered residents at the meeting.
"When we have a fatality on a road managed by council, we would typically undertake an inspection in the days following, to check everything."
Mr Lucas says council's initial findings, based on reports of two engineers, was no fault could be found with the intersection "as it sits now".
"That's not to say it's ideal, not to say the signage is adequate," he said.
"The signage there is all clean, it can be seen readily; all the signs are facing the right way. But we believe there are a whole lot of options to make the intersection better than it is."
Mr Lucas said a roundabout, variation in line-marking and signage, and realignment were some of the options; however some 'major traffic control items' may require the approval of VicRoads, including the alteration of speed zones.
Truck driver Michael Brent Knowler, 60, pleaded guilty in February 2021 to two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing serious injury.
Knowler was driving a Kenworth prime mover on Church Parade towards his friend's home in Broomfield before the fatal collision occurred.
He was using a GPS on his phone because he was unfamiliar with the area and told police he checked his phone after seeing a sign indicating there was an intersection ahead.
Knowler admitted to police he was "probably travelling too fast" when he first saw the give-way sign. He said he was unable to see the Rav4 approaching because of trees on the right hand side of the road until he was entering the intersection.
Knowler hit the passenger side of the West family's car, pushing it across the intersection, causing it hit a roadside culvert and flip between three and five times before coming to rest on its roof.
Funding of $60,000 was also received to install traffic islands, improve kerbs and pedestrian crossings at Dana Street and Dawson Street intersection near the Dana St Primary School in Ballarat.
Teachers and parents at the school made repeated calls for federal road safety funding for the intersection, often blocked with backed-up traffic, making crossing Dana Street dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.
"It's a dangerous intersection at the times of day when there are lots of kids around - because Ballarat's growing, the intersection and the traffic management around it hasn't changed to keep up with it," school council vice-president Steven Rothberg said in January.
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