A RESIDENTIAL street where a 78 year old woman was recently struck by a car and left with serious injuries had been identified as a priority area in need of updating by the Bass Coast Shire Council.
The woman was using a wheeled walking frame on the roadway of Edgar Street last Tuesday, March 14, when she was struck. She was airlifted to hospital.
The lack of a footpath on Edgar Street was noted by those attending the accident, which potentially could have been avoided if the street had an accessible pedestrian footpath.
The Urban Roads and Drainage Improvement Policy was adopted by the previous Bass Coast Shire Council in May 2015.
But Edgar Street, along with dozens of other roads across the region, did not make it onto the official program list of roads to be updated and upgraded.
The priority list was drafted in September 2014, with the purpose to prioritise the urban areas and roads that are unmade and have insufficient drainage infrastructure.
It was stated in the priority list that the cost to upgrade all unmade roads and insufficient drains across the shire would be $135 million.
As a result of insufficient council funds, roads had to be prioritised in order to address the most inadequate urban areas in Bass Coast.
It was this prioritisation system that deemed the urban areas of Billson Street, McKenzie Street and Watt Street, including Edgar Street, to not be as high priority as other urban areas in the shire.
Other streets in Wonthaggi included on the priority list include Queen Street, Reed Crescent, Fahey Street, Loch Street, Watt Street, McKenzie Street, Merrin Crescent, Broome Crescent, Hagelthorn Street, Billson Street and Baillieu Street East.
The five areas that did make it onto the list were the Sunset Strip estate, Pioneer Bay estate, Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay estates, Smiths Beach and Beachcomber estate, and the Koala estate in Cowes.
The Sunset Strip estate upgrades were to be financed by a special charge scheme; a move that proved unpopular with locals and was eventually thrown out by the council.
Concerns have now been raised about the safety of roads in Wonthaggi like Edgar Street, which is close to both the Wonthaggi Secondary College and the Bass Coast Specialist School.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said residents can apply to have an urban area re-prioritised by the council, if there is broad community support for the project.
“Firstly, it was a tragic accident and our sincerest thoughts go out to those who have been impacted,” Cr Rothfield said.
“Council has an urban roads and drainage improvement policy which is the main mechanism for upgrading infrastructure such as footpaths, roads and drains in residential areas such as Wonthaggi.
“In addition to this, council has an allocation in its current capital works program for filling in gaps in the footpath network.”
Victoria Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
It is believed that sun glare affected the driver of the vehicle which struck the woman, although police acknowledged the lack of footpaths on the street at the time of the accident.