Northe criticises road barriers

Member for Morwell Russell Northe has raised concerns around what he calls the “unintended consequences” of wire rope barriers installed on roads across Gippsland.

“A number of local motorists have highlighted issues including the lack of accessibility for emergency service vehicles, the narrow buffer on the sides of some sections of roads, motorcycle safety concerns, and why these works are ongoing yet the state of our roads remain poor,” Mr Northe said.

“All of us want to see improved road safety, particularly on our country roads, however, it’s imperative that any investment carries with it real outcomes and not unintended consequences.”

However, Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said wire rope barriers were “extremely important in saving lives” and functioned to prevent head-on collisions, which she said were”particularly common in regional areas and often occur at high speeds, resulting in fatalities.”

“There is always more work to do around how road users needs can be accommodated and I am in ongoing and regular discussion with VicRoads about the best way to combine safety with access for example, emergency vehicles,” Ms Shing said.

“The bottom line is that flexible barriers work in saving lives and every year we lose too many drivers and riders on roads.

“Significant research has been done into the effectiveness of wire rope barriers and we know that flexible safety barriers are between 75 and 85 per cent effective in reducing the severity of run-off-road crashes.”

VicRoads said almost half of all road deaths in Victoria happen in 100km/h and 110km/h zones and flexible safety barriers, including wire rope barriers and flexible guard fences held up by steel posts that collapse on impact, can stretch and absorb the force of a crash.

VicRoads director safe system road infrastructure program Bryan Sherrit said the barriers save lives.

“We’re working closely with emergency services during the planning and design of our safety upgrades, to ensure they can continue to respond to incidents safely and with affected residents, landowners and businesses, where necessary,” Mr Sherrit said.