WE noticed during the week that VicRoads won an award for its work on the South Gippsland Highway.
Surely this has got to be some sort of cruel joke!
The media announcement said that the roads authority had won a major new award for the ‘South Gippsland Run Off Road Project’, implemented on the South Gippsland and Strzelecki highways.
The ‘Safe System Award’ was announced at the important ‘Towards Zero Road Safety’ symposium in Melbourne last week, where a worthy, new campaign was launched to drive down both fatalities and major injuries on our roads.
The awarded project apparently involved the removal of large trees from the roadside and the instillation of wire barrier fences to limit the impact of ‘run off road’ accidents.
And we welcome that.
But surely VicRoads and its road maintenance contractors should have been disqualified from winning such an award because of the state of the road and its poor construction standards.
We appreciate that there isn’t enough money for either VicRoads or the local shires to maintain the road network, and we are seeing a stark acknowledgement of that with the decision by the Bass Coast Shire Council to downgrade the main entrance into Pioneer Bay from sealed pavement to dirt track.
Kallay Drive will be ripped up during the week starting May 19, 2014.
But our main arterial roads into the region; the Bass Highway and the South Gippsland Highway, must be constructed and maintained to a better standard than they are right now.
And you only need to look at the constantly re-occurring potholes outside Condolucci Produce to know what we are all talking about.
Government simply does not allow for the higher cost of maintaining roads in our hilly and weather-beaten conditions, plus they also need to keep in mind that these roads provide our only access in the absence of alternative public transport.
Good luck to the designers who came up with the award-winning project and we hope it leads to fewer deaths and injuries locally but it’s the overall condition of the highway that should come under scrutiny.
And while we’re on the subject of road conditions; now that the shires and the state government have officially raised the white flag on local road maintenance, perhaps they should lower the speed limit on these to a safer 80km/h, save more lives and more money, and finally admit they have failed us.