By Rowan Forster
A Beaconhills College student has embarked on a mission to reduce the risk of a catastrophic crash at the Toomuc Valley Road and Princes Highway, Pakenham intersection.
Rahmana Basit, from Year 8, has spearheaded a petition to have traffic lights installed at the thoroughfare, prompted by a spate of accidents.
She has already accrued more than 300 physical signatures and intends to present them to Councillor Michael Schilling in the coming week.
According to Rahmana, the heaving intersection has drawn the ire of many students at Beaconhills College.
She wants to intervene before tragedy strikes.
“Everyone at my school was getting really frustrated about this road because it’s such a dangerous road and accidents keep happening,” she said.
“The other thing that motivated me was my mum.
“We were driving to school and it was getting so busy and crowded and I was thinking to myself; I need to do something about this because it is so dangerous.”
In addition to her physical petition, Rahmana has created an online version – which has garnered 140 additional signatures.
Many were quick to rally behind her cause.
“This intersection is a hazard and I am always extremely worried for school traffic, especially for students trying to cross,” one supporter said on the petition.
“Many a time I have witnessed vehicles taking risks turning onto Princes Highway.”
It comes after Councillor Brett Owen raised issues with a number of non-signalised intersections adjoining the Princes Highway between Pakenham and Beaconsfield, amid revelations the O’Neil Road junction saw two serious collisions within a week.
The school has rallied behind Rahmana, supporting her bid to make the petition become a reality.
Council CEO Carol Jeffs, during a recent council meeting, indicated that Cardinia Shire is waiting on State Government funding to complete a number of intersection upgrades along the Princes Highway.
“Council has progressed to the concept design stage for all 8 of the intersections along the Princess Highway, Glismann, O’Neil, Brunt, Bayview, Tivendale, McMullen, Arena Parade and Thewlis Roads,” she said.
“The total cost of the project is $35 million, of which only half is covered by developer contributions.
“Cardinia Shire has advocated strongly for Government funding leading into the State election for this whole package of intersections and we will be approaching the new government after the election to fund the constructions of the intersections.”
The petition will be addressed at Cardinia Shire Council’s next general meeting.