THE reduction of speed limits on some of our main roads was the main issue raised when VicRoads hosted a Drop-in Community Session at the old Korumburra Shire Office last Wednesday.
The event was held to give the community a voice on road issues and allow VicRoads’ executive leadership team to engage with the locals.
Maintenance and safety issues and some of the challenges faced on the roads were other topics discussed at the session.
VicRoads executive director of Regional Services, Bill Glasgow said the session was about listening to the community’s needs.
“It’s about asking the communities down here who really know every inch of their roads, what are their priorities in terms of their needs for improvements to the network,” he said.
“It can be as simple as why do we have speed reductions in this area where it doesn’t make sense to them.
“It’s about how we can be much better connected to our communities and for a lot of the executives that don’t spend a lot of time in the country, it’s really getting that connection and getting a much deeper understanding.”
In promising signs for local roads, Mr Glasgow said the recent budget has tripled the funding for rural and metropolitan road restoration, road surfacing and maintenance.
“It’s looking more promising that additional works will get done, over and above what we’ve seen in the last number of years,” he said.
“That’s an incredibly exciting thing for everyone in Victoria and it’s a really good challenge and a big challenge for VicRoads.
“Without the connections with the community, it’s unlikely that we’ll understand where the priorities are.”
A hot topic at the session on Wednesday was the speed reductions to 80km/h on the Mirboo North-Meeniyan Road, also known as Loves Lanes.
A Mirboo North couple suggested that sections of the road could potentially be restored to 100km/h.
Mr Glasgow said one of the recurring themes of the session was changing speed limits after serious incidents.
“From a safety perspective, we have fatalities or serious accidents that are starting to happen on certain sections of the road and one of the treatments is to reduce the speed, which is directly linked to a reduction in the number of accidents that you have,” he said.
“But for a lot of the community – who we probably haven’t done the right level of consultation and they’ve travelled that road for five, 10, 15, 20 years – it’s really important that we inform them as to the reasons why and then we go through the right consultations as to whether or not they should be permanent reductions in speed.
“It’s also important for them to understand that it’s not just a knee jerk reaction to drop speed, because the longer term solution may be other parts of treatment on the road and not just speed reduction.”
The Leongatha Drop-in Community Session is likely to be held on Wednesday, June 21 as an evening community session at a venue to be confirmed.