South Gippsland Shire Council has received calls from residents with concerns about the recent placement of power poles between Bald Hills Road and Tarwin Lower.
Over the past four years Bald Hills Wind Farm (BHWF) has investigated several options for the power line route during its consultation process, including underground and creating easements through properties.
This alignment was designed, where possible, to minimise the amount of native vegetation required to be removed.
The outcome is that some poles have been installed along road reserves and in cases, like Walkerville Road, are closer to the road than in other areas.
Council had discussions with BHWF representatives before works started and was advised that barriers would be installed where needed.
As this is a ‘works in progress’ site, the council has asked the BHWF contractors to install the appropriate works signage and speed limits and motorists are asked to abide by these to ensure safe passage.
As a utility provider, BHWF did not need to apply for a permit to use the road reserve to erect the poles. They do however have an obligation to adhere to the Austroads Guidelines for Clear Zones.
Subsequently, the council has requested that the contractors installing the poles for BHWF organise a Traffic Safety Audit to be carried out by an independent company at the earliest to determine which poles will need safety barriers, and what type of barrier should be used.
The poles opposite each other are where the cables cross the road. I believe this alignment was selected to keep the poles as far from the road as possible without overhanging property boundaries, which would have required the creation of easements.
The council appreciates the community’s concerns and concurs that public safety must be optimum.
When the directives from the independent Traffic Safety Audit are implemented to meet the relevant Australian Safety Standards, I am confident that the risk levels will be at an acceptable level.
As always, we ask that motorists drive appropriately for existing road conditions across the shire.
Anthony Seabrook, director Engineering Services, South Gippsland Shire Council.
Council working on pole safety