Crash hotspot demand
RECENT safety works on the dangerous part of the Strzelecki Highway known as Crightons Hill will reduce the likelihood of fatalities and serious injuries when cars do leave the road, according to VicRoads.
But not local residents believe the works do not go far enough in protecting the community.
The accident hotspot at Leongatha North has claimed four lives since 2012. Another accident occurred at Crightons Hill on December 26, 2015, with no injuries recorded.
VicRoads eastern region acting regional director Steve McCallum said a series of road safety improvements on the Strzelecki Highway between Mount Vernon Road and Leongatha would be completed by mid 2016.
He said while there are no current plans for realignment of the highway at Crightons Hill, the new safety measures being implemented would make the road safer for drivers.
Leongatha North’s Susan McAlpine uses the road daily and said the improvements were inadequate for slowing traffic.
“The barriers aren’t going to prevent people speeding. It may prevent additional injuries if a car goes over the edge, but nothing else,” she said.
“We have said right from the start, the speed limit must be reduced. A suggested speed isn’t good enough.”
Mrs McAlpine said she and her family travel the road daily and was mere minutes away from the accident on Boxing Day.
“We pulled up and asked everyone if they were all right,” she said.
“There needs to be something more proactive done, rather than spending money on wire barriers.”
Her son David has been on his P plates for six months and said more needs to be done to protect drivers.
“The condition of the road in the wet is another dangerous factor. The drainage is substandard and water rushes across the road, particularly at the bottom two corners,” he said.
“I have never seen the drains cleaned out. They don’t seem to work.”
Mr McAlpine said the speed limit should be reduced to at least 80 kilometres per hour.
“If the road was reduced to 80km/h from Crightons Road on the Mirboo North side and the flat on the Leongatha side, it would be better,” he said.
“The installation of rumble strips before the corners could also help. They make you think ‘This is not an average corner’, so I will concentrate.”
As part of the $4.16 million works being carried out on the Strzelecki Highway, some safety improvements at Crightons Hill have already been completed, including tactile line marking and installation of speed advisory signs.
“Other works at Crightons Hill are continuing, including shoulder widening and installation of safety barriers which are expected to be completed by March,” Mr McCallum said.
“Additional safety measures as part of the larger project include a turning lane at the Mardan Road intersection, new guideposts and the removal of roadside trees that pose an unacceptable risk to road users.”
Mr McCallum said speed advisory signs in addition to the other measures being implemented would make the road safer, but as always, responsible driver behaviour is also necessary if these works were to reduce road trauma.
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