Walhalla residents and local volunteers have met with The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath to discuss ongoing road safety concerns in the mountain community.
The meeting follows the second serious accident on Walhalla Road in the past two weeks where both vehicles careered 22 metres down a vertical embankment landing in Stringers Creek.
Ms Bath said Walhalla Road has multiple road safety hazards including hair pin bends with limited roadside safety barriers, its surface is uneven with potholes and collapsing edges.
“Despite road safety concerns being raised over many years, requests for upgrades on the Walhalla Road have been labelled too difficult and too expensive.
“There is no margin for error when driving on Walhalla Road – the 10 kilometre road into town is quite treacherous.
“Our local SES and CFA are the first responders to the scene of an accident and the demands in safely performing rescues in challenging terrain takes its toll.
“When our first responders are saying there are serious road safety issues that need attention the Andrews Government must listen.”
Attendees at the meeting co-signed Ms Bath’s letter to the Minister for Roads and Roads Safety seeking three key actions:
- A full road safety assessment of the Walhalla Road by Regional Roads Victoria
- Regional Roads Victoria meet with community and agree on a road safety action plan
- Provide costings for the implementation of safety upgrades which meet the community’s expectation
Ms Bath said Walhalla is a historic township attracting tourists from all over the world, road safety should be a priority so locals and visitors can arrive, explore and return home safely.
“Through the Towards Zero campaign, the Andrews Government set a target to reduce lives lost on our roads to under 200 people by 2020, but it’s failed to meet this target.
“This year the regional road toll is already risen by 33 percent with – 77 people have already tragically lost their life on our country roads.
“Regional Victoria has had 22 percent more road fatalities than metropolitan Melbourne, despite only representing 25 percent of the state’s population.
“Labor promised more effort on our country roads where most fatalities happen, but instead it cut Victoria’s roads maintenance budget by over $200 million in the last two years.
“In contrast the Andrews Government is spending $28.1 billion fixing its cost blowouts on mismanaged major infrastructure projects in Melbourne.
“Walhalla residents and local emergency services volunteers know road accidents are much more than statistics – each accident, each injury or fatality represents a much-loved individual.
“Country Victorians refuse to accept compromised road safety as part of our rural lifestyle – where there’s a will, there’s way, a solution must be found by Regional Roads Victoria.
“The Andrews Government must commit the necessary funds and undertake immediate works to fix the road safety issues on Walhalla Road.”