CARNAGE in Penola's Church St has vindicated the pending creation of the Penola bypass, according to Wattle Range Council spokesmen.
A delivery van from Patrick of Coonawarra was written off and two other parked vehicles damaged when an oversized load semi-trailer hit it on January 21.
The truck was being escorted by police through the town on its way to Western Australian mines from Portland when it struck the van, pushing it off the road and into two parked cars.
Wattle Range Riddoch Ward (Penola) councillor Rob Thornett said the incident underlined the troublesome situation on Church St.
"It just illustrates the volume of traffic going up and down Church St," he said.
"It's part and parcel why we need a suitable aternative for these vehicles rather than going through Penola...Church St is not able to cope with vehicles like that."
In an unlucky coincidence, Cr Thornett's daughter's car was one of the parked cars damaged when the van was pushed into them - the other being the personal car of local policeman Jason Watkins.
Wattle Range mayor Peter Gandolfi was in Penola at the time.
"It's very fortunate nobody was injured...it tore through it (the van) like it was alfoil," he told the Herald.
Mr Gandolfi said the Penola Bypass would remove the danger of these incidents on the narrow street.
"I think it is obvious a bypass is needed," he said.
Land acquisitions for the bypass were approved in April last year to allow the council to start to acquire land for the creation of the bypass.
Stage one of the bypass project has been funded by $9 million from the State Government.
Stage two will require federal funding and council is expecting an announcement on that this year.
"The State Government has got carriage of the submission to the Federal Government," Mayor Gandolfi explained.
"The Federal Government is expected to announce the next five years of the Nation Building Program this year."
It is hoped the second stage of the bypass will be included in a list of projects to be included in the program.
Work on the first stage will start later this year, starting with the section from Riddoch Hwy south of Penola to the Penola-Robe Rd.
The bypass was also a topic of discussion at the Wattle Range Council's January meeting.
Cr Thornett spoke of the need for the bypass to have a speed restriction to avoid "taking accidents from one part of Penola and just putting them in another part".
"It has to be really safe," he said.
Once the bypass is complete, all traffic from that side of town, including school buses, will need to come via the Robe Rd, intersecting the bypass.
Cr Thornett suggested the bypass be made an 80-90km/h zone for safety reasons.