Barriers split community

All for it: Leongatha SES members from left, Val Bremner, Neil Warren and Rose Burns shared their thoughts at the Vicroads Community Information Session about the proposed safety works along the South Gippsland Highway between Leongatha and Meeniyan on Monday, July 31.


THE community has mixed reactions to a proposal by VicRoads to install safety barriers down the middle of the South Gippsland Highway between Leongatha and Meeniyan at a public information session in Leongatha on Monday, July 31.

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said while evidence showed the safety barriers save lives, the State Government was more focussed on the barriers than repairing road surfaces.

“Cuts to road maintenance funding, and the axing of the Country Roads and Bridges program have seen our country roads deteriorate further. The strong message I get is that we need to fix the roads first,” he said.

“I note that VicRoads is currently only putting forward proposals for community feedback and I strongly urge people to have their say on these proposed works.

“We need a clear explanation of the need for further works and how centreline safety barriers would work in practice.

“For example, will there be breaks to allow vehicles to run around?  Has VicRoads considered the presence of many slow moving vehicles such as tractors on these roads, and will there be opportunities for overtaking and for emergency vehicles to get past?  These questions need to be answered.”

Emergency service vehicle drivers expressed their concerns on The Star’s Facebook page.

John Poletti wrote, “From the perspective of a road accident rescue operator in this very area, I would say it’s possibly the most ridiculous, ignorant, and ill informed suggestion I’ve seen. Think about it for a nano second.”

Around 25 people dropped in to a Community Information Session hosted by VicRoads in Leongatha on July 31.

Koonwarra CFA member Trevor Riseley, who owns Riseley’s Transport in Leongatha, said VicRoads needed to supply more information.

Leongatha State Emergency Service member Neil Warren welcomed the barriers.

“It’s a great concept and there’s a lot more money going into it than I thought. For the SES it’ll mean we won’t have to go out as often. There have been too many incidents, especially on the Black Spur bends. Hopefully the plan will do what it’s there for,” he said.
Members of VicRoads’ Safe System Infrastructure Program (SSRIP) project team heard the community’s views.

SSRIP director Bryan Sherritt said, “Community members acknowledged this is a dangerous, high traffic road and understand its importance as a commuter route.

“The introduction of new overtaking opportunities and widened sealed shoulders as part of the proposal was welcomed by many members of the community.”

The project team said the works were to reduce the risk and severity of crashes on Victoria’s roads.
Feedback can be provided via engage.ssrip@roads.vic.gov.au or by phoning 0401 998 130.




Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22155

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