The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has inspected a section of the Princes Highway at Traralgon at the request of local residents concerned about the location of recently-installed barriers.
Traralgon residents Graeme and Elaine Crawford are concerned about many aspects of the recent barrier installations.
“These new barriers are clearly too close to the highway in many locations. If you have a flat tyre, you can’t actually get off the road,” Mr Crawford said. “The wire rope barrier prevents you from getting to safety.”
“I also agree with the concerns shared by many firefighters. These barriers really restrict and prevent access to bush areas on the roadside. There are not enough breaks in the barrier for sufficient access.”
Mrs Crawford spoke of the increased risks from wildlife being ‘trapped’ on the highway by the new barriers.
“If wallabies or kangaroos find themselves on the highway, their natural reaction is to follow a fence line until they can find the scrub. With these barriers so close to the road, there will be more wildlife on our highways, creating a greater hazard,” Mrs Crawford said.
An elected Liberal Nationals government will suspend the blanket rollout of wire rope barrier and redirect funds toward road safety measures on country roads.
Ms Bath said the Liberals and Nationals were not opposed to wire rope barriers when used strategically.
“The previous Liberal Nationals government oversaw the successful installation of barriers in areas where there was clear evidence they could save lives,” Ms Bath said.
Ms Bath said a Liberal Nationals government would work with the communities and other stakeholders to agree on workable solutions.
“We will suspend Labor’s careless rollout of roadside and centre barriers and establish a working group which will include key affected stakeholders to determine the manner and extent of any future implementation of barriers.”
“If used strategically, wire rope barrier can save lives, but Labor’s rushed rollout is causing great concern for all road users across Victoria, including motorists, motorcyclists and tow truck operators.”
“The safety benefits of wire rope barriers are indisputable when they are used in a strategic way, but Labor has taken this project and aggressively expanded the rollout with little consideration of where the barriers are being placed.”
“The speed with which the project is being carried out is not allowing enough time for the scrutiny and planning to ensure that barriers are installed correctly. This is resulting in barriers as close to 30 centimetres from the roadside in some places – or 1.9 metres such as the location I visited today – when it is recommended they be placed a minimum of four metres from traffic lanes.”
“With a Liberal Nationals government, the money being used to fund the current rollout will be immediately redirected towards other country road safety measures, including overdue repairs to actual road surfaces.”
“It is exasperating to watch the out-of-touch Andrews Labor Government spending millions of taxpayers’ dollar on this when our roads are in desperate need of maintenance and repair.”