When I retired from the highway patrol after 30 years patrolling the local roads, I certainly wish I had invested my superannuation into a catch fence provider!
‘Danger zones to be fixed’ screamed the headlines.
I actually thought they intended to fix the appalling state of our local roads.
But no, they’re going to spend a total of $8.3 million, yes, million, of our tax dollars on more bloody safety barriers.
What about actually fixing the damn roads so people aren’t swerving all over the place trying to avoid road surfaces that are actually contributing to drivers losing control.
The news release from MP Danny O’Brien, backed up by Nationals leader and member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan, states that evaluation by Monash University has already identified the success of the current policy, reducing serious crashes by 30 per cent.
In 30 years of patrolling the same highways, I could never ever, in my wildest dreams, be able to put a figure on how many crashes I prevented by being seen in a marked police vehicle, by doing numerous RBT sites, or using the radar etc.
It just cannot be done!
“A good example is the South Gippsland Highway between Stony Creek and Foster, etc, etc, etc, where most of the 13 casualty crashes over a five year period occurred when vehicles ran off the road.”
Come on minister, that is less than three casualty crashes per year, not fatalities.
The Loch-Wonthaggi Road would probably have far worse statistics than that, along with many other roads in this area.
And let’s not forget that this section of road handles numerous visitors as well as trucks, etc, and less than three crashes per year does not justify that amount of expenditure on safety barriers, especially when those same roads are probably falling apart from lack of maintenance!
I was told when I first arrived in South Gippsland back in 1978 that GMH often used the roadway between Anderson and Wonthaggi as a test track for their new vehicles, as they couldn’t duplicate such shocking road surfaces.
Well, things haven’t changed. If ever there was a road that needed an injection of a couple of million, this is it, right in front of you!
I would also like to make the following points: If these safety barriers prevent so many road crashes, and justify the expenditure, why is it that on my numerous trips to Melbourne over the past six months, very few of them appear to have sustained impact damage.
Are they scaring the motorist into staying on the road? Most have weeds and long grass underneath, and look untouched.
And in all reality, how much of my tax dollars are going to be spent on these items when they are designed to protect those who are not taking enough care in the first place – the phone users, the drunk drivers, and those who couldn’t drive to save themselves?
We can’t keep wrapping people up in cotton wool. Sooner or later they have to take responsibility for their own actions.
And just remember that these funding decisions come from the same area of government that originally proposed that traffic travelling from Wonthaggi to Melbourne would have to turn left at Anderson, then negotiate a right hand turn at the new T intersection onto an already overloaded Phillip Island Tourist road.
It was only after numerous representations by police and others that someone agreed to put in an overpass at the bottom of the Anderson hill. Until that time it was anticipated that that the minister’s statistics of 15 casualty crashes would be more like a weekend toll, rather than five years!
What about getting your priorities right? Fix the bloody roads first, then find funding for the “cotton wool.”
Wayne Beale, Leongatha.