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Highway split

CONTENTIOUS barriers will be installed throughout much of the new realignment of the South Gippsland Highway at Koonwarra.

VicRoads revealed centerline safety barriers would be part of the $50 million Black Spur realignment, apart from on two new bridges due to width restrictions.

VicRoads recently announced safety barriers would be placed on the highway from the 70km/h sign at the Leongatha Hospital to Koonwarra and from Minns Road to Meeniyan –  a plan that received a mixed reaction from the community.

Some drivers believed the barriers would improve safety while others are concerned the barriers would increase the risk of a collision.

The topic created much interest on The Star’s Facebook page, with nearly 200 comments as of yesterday (Monday).

VicRoads’ David Gellion said the barriers had proven to reduce the chances of a head-on collision in other parts of Victoria.

“I think it will be normal process from here on,” the project delivery manager said during a briefing to South Gippsland Shire Council about the progress of the realignment last Wednesday.

“There seems to be a trend to go from wire rope to a flexible guard fence. Our current process is wire rope but that could change.”

Meeniyan’s Clive Hope was concerned how the central barriers would impact wildlife attempting to cross the highway.

“I can see wombats doing circles there,” he said.

“There was no talk about improving the road surface. They should be looking at that.”

Mayor Cr Ray Argento welcomed the central barriers within the Black Spur realignment and other stretches of the South Gippsland Highway, due to their safety record.

“Secondarily, an overtaking lane will be put in place, so there will be two within five kilometres, so there will be plenty of opportunities to overtake,” he said.

“If one life is saved, then it will have been worth it.”

VicRoads expects construction of the Black Spur to start in early 2018 and the project to be completed in mid 2021.

The realignment is being undertaken to avoid a winding section of highway that has been the site of 16 casualty crashes between 2012 and 2017 – a figure that is eight times the state average.

The highway carries 4000 cars and 1000 heavy vehicles a day, and this traffic must slow to about 65km/h to negotiate nine substandard curves.

The realignment will take the highway across a ridge north of the Great Southern Rail Trail, and span from just south of Old Koonwarra-Meeniyan Road to just south of Minns Road.

The works would decrease the length of highway from 3.4km to 2.3km, reducing travel time.

“The realignment will provide greater access to tourist locations and greater efficiencies for our transport operators, such as Murray Goulburn,” Cr Argento said.

“That area slows the whole South Gippsland Highway down to a very slow pace and it’s just fantastic that the funding has been allocated. It’s a win for South Gippsland.”

Cr Argento expected traffic on the highway to continue to increase and hoped that once Black Spur was done, the Grassy Spur section at Stony Creek would also be realigned.

The works will have minimal impact on a fossil site near Minns Road due to being on the other side of the highway.

Earth cuts of up to 18m deep would be required due to the hilly terrain, and new intersections for Caithness and Minns roads will be made, along with a new underpass for the rail trail. The trail will be realigned at a second river crossing.

Mr Gellion said farmers would retain access to their properties during the works and any losses of land would be compensated for.

The rail trail may be closed for limited periods to enable concrete pours and other works.

The project is jointly funded by the Victorian and Federal governments.

On site: from left, South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Ray Argento discusses the $50 realignment of the Black Spur section of the South Gippsland Highway with VicRoads’ David Gellion and Ray Paterson.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22137

Posted by on Aug 8 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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