Roads money not enough


Roads money not enough

THE State Government must spend more money on the region’s roads, despite a funding announcement last week.
Victorian Roads Minister Tim Pallas announced a total of just over $41.5m for improvements to the South Gippsland and Bass highways.
But $39.8m of that is for stage seven of the duplication of the Bass Highway.
The rest is to patch and repair.
It includes $1.25 million for the Bass Highway between Anderson and Inverloch.
And while the funding announcement has been welcomed, the campaign for more money will continue.
“Someone needs to do something before there’s a major accident; the sooner the better. It’s very serious,” declared Peter Stoitse, who has run a trucking business in South Gippsland since the late 1960s.
He called once again for a truck bypass for Leongatha and Korumburra.
His trucks ply the South Gippsland Highway every day.
He said sections of it have sunk, creating hazards for semi trailers and B doubles.
They’re carrying loads of 70 tonne and the roads are not built either for that weight or the amount of traffic carried.
The tracks they carve in the surface of the highway hold water from all the rain that has fallen. In Mr Stoitse’s view, all it would take would be for a car to go through those at 100km/h and “they’d aquaplane”.
The Foster North hills are a nightmare, causing trucks to “hop”, risking damage and accidents.
So, hearing that Mr Pallas had announced an extra $430,000 to repair parts of the South Gippsland Highway, did not impress him much.
Although Mr Stoitse was pleased to hear that $90,000 of that was for Gelliondale, because that’s where the highway has broken up badly.
The sum of $270,000 has been allocated for the highway at Bena and $70,000 for Lang Lang.
A further $472,000 will help repair the Korumburra-Warragul Road at Korumburra and $457,000 the Boolarra-Churchill Road.
Mr Pallas said the funding was “to fix potholes and repair roads” affected by heavy rains.
Nationals Leader Peter Ryan, said he was pleased to see that community pressure, brought about by the assistance of the (local) media, had resulted in the government making some money available for road repairs.
Questioned by The Star, a spokesperson for Mr Pallas denied the funding was a last-minute election pitch.
The spokesperson stressed the new money, announced on Friday, was “on top of the usual works”.
South Gippsland Mayor Cr Jim Fawcett, said any money for road repairs was welcome.
“But we do need more money for roads. They have deteriorated quite dramatically in the past three or four years,” he said.
“Some places are definitely dangerous.”
So much so, many local people are avoiding them.
Cr Fawcett said he, and many people he knows, “have adopted a defensive position”, with some travelling on the Princes rather than the South Gippsland Highway.
Funding to repair the Bass Highway between Anderson and Inverloch was announced following a recent deputation by Bass Coast Council to Mr Pallas.
Councillors have been calling for action as the highway has continued to deteriorate. Construction of the desalination plant at Wonthaggi, has resulted in a lot more heavy traffic and council has been trying for many months to draw State Government attention to that.
Bass Coast infrastructure director Steve Piasente, joined CEO Allan Bawden and Mayor Cr Peter Paul on the deputation.
Cr Paul said Mr Pallas was aware of the impact of the desalination plant, with council photos underscoring the point.
Work will start this month and should be finished by Christmas.
The $1.25m will rehabilitate a total of 9.5km over the 30km stretch of highway.
Mr Piasente said the money would repair the worst sections of the highway, but he expected more would be needed.
Asked if there was any guarantee VicRoads would not use faulty material, as had been the case on Bass Highway at the intersection of Turnbull-Woolamai Road, resulting in constant breaking up, Mr Piasente said “no”.
“There are never any guarantees with road construction as a number of factors will determine how the road performs over time,” he said.
“These factors include the type and volume of traffic, weather conditions and how effectively the road drains.”
Council has lodged a formal application for funding assistance to reconstruct South Dudley Road Wonthaggi, which is used by desalination construction trucks. In Mr Piasente’s estimation, 90 per cent of it will need to be rebuilt.
It is a council managed road, but Mr Piasente said Mr Pallas was sympathetic to the request for State help.
Stage seven of the Bass Highway duplication will start early next year and be finished in 2013.

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Posted by SiteAdmin on Nov 4 2010. 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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