THE notorious Coal Creek bends, on the South Gippsland Highway, was the scene of the third serious collision in 24 days last Tuesday, November 22, only this time it had the worst possible consequences.
In an accident that occurred around 1.30pm, a 33 year old man from Clyde North, lost control of his red, late-model Ford ute and crossed double lines into the path of a Subaru Forester travelling east.
According to Sergeant Jason Hullick of the Bass Coast Traffic Management Unit, the driver of the ute would likely have died instantly.
“He was travelling in a westerly direction towards Korumburra when he’s lost control on the first [Coal Creek] corner. He’s tried to get back on course but overcorrected and unfortunately, he’s presented the driver’s side door to the on-coming car with tragic results.”
The Subaru driver had nowhere to go and has hit the on-coming car, on his own side of the road, at its weakest point.
The surviving driver, a 43 year old, was the only passenger in his car, and while he didn’t sustain life-threating injuries, he was airlifted to Dandenong hospital with deep facial cuts and chest injuries, in a ‘stable condition’.
Sgt Hullick didn’t speculate on the cause of the accident but said the road surface was wet as a result of light rain throughout the morning.
The other recent accidents; on Monday, October 31 at 8pm [two cars, six people injured], and Saturday, November 12 at 1.30pm, [one truck driver, three in car], happened in almost exactly the same place.
In at least one of those accidents, police confirmed that oil on the road was a factor.
Vicroads has been asked to respond:
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those touched by Tuesday’s fatal crash,” said a spokesperson for Vicroads.
“Fatal crashes have an enormous impact on families and the wider community and VicRoads extends its sympathies to all those affected by this tragedy.
“We are currently working with police in their investigations to determine the cause of this crash and other recent incidents on the South Gippsland Highway near Coal Creek.
“While these are being carried out VicRoads has implemented temporary speed limits of 40km/h and 60km/h.
“Safety is paramount and we will work with Police and Council to explore longer term treatments.
“It is important people do drive to conditions and all care is taken on our roads.”
Coal Creek bends need safety work: O’Brien
GIPPSLAND South MP Danny O’Brien has raised concern for the safety of road users in South Gippsland and repeated his calls for upgrades of local roads in Parliament on Thursday last week.
Mr O’Brien said his concerns were compounded by two tragic fatalities from separate vehicle accidents within the Gippsland South electorate this week.
Mr O’Brien said these accidents, at Korumburra and Woodside North, brought home the importance of the road safety message, as well as the critical need to upgrade country roads.
“While I am anxiously awaiting a commitment from the Labor Government to match $25 million of Federal Coalition funding to realign the dangerous Black Spur section of the South Gippsland Highway and upgrade sections further along, the government should now be planning works to improve the road and alignment at the scene of the latest fatality at Coal Creek,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I have called on the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, to instruct VicRoads to review signage and roadside safety barriers on the Coal Creek bends at Korumburra.
“The government must see if there is anything immediate that can be done to make this location safer.
“After axing the Liberal-Nationals Government’s successful Country Roads and Bridges program and cutting the roads maintenance budget, Labor must now get funding back into the system to improve our country roads.
“With $9.7 billion received through the lease of the Port of Melbourne the government has no excuses.
“The Nationals ensured through the sale legislation that at least 10 per cent of that, or $970 million, must be delivered to regional and rural transport projects so there is money available,” Mr O’Brien said.