VicRoads says heavy rain combined with the need for final surfacing is the reason why ‘new’ sections of the Bass Highway/Phillip Island Tourist Road is disintegrating only weeks after being opened to traffic.
PHILLIP Island’s new ‘link road’ is already crumbling, with VicRoads undertaking temporary repairs until final surfacing works are completed.
Opened just prior to Christmas, the final section of the Bass Highway Duplication Project took just 10 days to start disintegrating, according to one motorist who uses the carriageway five days a week.
Cape Woolamai resident James Watson says he was “disgusted” to see a section where the new link road joins up with Phillip Island Tourist Road, between the Wonthaggi turnoff and Punchbowl Road, had broken “down to dirt” mere days after it opened to traffic.
Mr Watson says he rang the roads authority three days in a row about the issue and it took a crew another three days to locate the problem.
It caps off, he adds, “the greatest farce in our state’s road construction history.”
“It has taken VicRoads and its contractors six years to lay 16km of dual carriageway which, in itself, is laughable,” Mr Watson said.
Observing repair works when they finally did take place, Mr Watson believes only a “few wheelbarrow-loads of gravel” were applied to the affected areas on the west-bound lane.
Several weeks on, the repair isn’t holding up too well, as evidenced by the photo accompanying this article, taken by Mr Watson this past weekend.
Whilst he admits the new near-completed highway duplication project will free up the traditional bottleneck at Anderson roundabout during peak holiday and major event periods, Mr Watson, who travels to and from Ferntree Gully for work on a full-time basis, believes the highway upgrade, which started towards Lang Lang way back in 1999, only shaves “about a minute” off his travel time with regular speed limits in place.
When asked whether the new link road was opened to traffic too soon, VicRoads acting regional director, Ray Paterson, said: “VicRoads priority was to open the new link road ahead of the busy Christmas/New Year’s period, to cater for the huge influx of traffic to Phillip Island.”
“Final road surface works are still required on this road, which will be carried out after the peak holiday period, in coming weeks,” Mr Paterson confirmed.
He said heavy rain in late December had also impacted on sections of the new link road’s surface.
“Temporary repairs will continue to be carried out to maintain safety for drivers until final road surface works are completed shortly.”