VICROADS officers visited Wonthaggi last week to engage with locals and with 12 officers ready to answer questions, there were no quiet moments.
In the old Wonthaggi Post Office, spread out across the room were maps, feedback forms and frightening statistics.
Between 2012 and 2016, more than 1600 people have been seriously injured on Gippsland roads and 131 people have died.
In country Victoria, there’s been 712 fatalities and 8510 serious injuries in the same period.
VicRoads CEO John Merritt said there had been requests from the Bass Coast and South Gippsland shire councils to visit the area.
VicRoads officers met with the shires’ CEOs and Mayors, and other staff at a round-table discussion before the community session.
“You’re four times more likely to die on a country road than you are if you’re driving in the city,” he said.
“So a lot of the work we’re doing in the Towards Zero strategy is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into country roads to try and do something about it.”
Contractors have recently been working to add wire barriers along the Bass Highway and one motorbike rider was concerned about being “cut in half” by the wire.
Mr Merritt said there wasn’t any evidence to suggest that would be the case.
He said VicRoads is building its technical capacity through the use of Bluetooth technology to give people better information about live travel times.
In the future, there will be ‘real time’ traffic monitoring that could help spread the load on the bridge to Phillip Island.
“People might delay their trip by two hours if we can tell them when a better time to leave is.”
Mr Merritt said coming to Wonthaggi helps to engage with people on a personal level.
“You get good feedback about the economy and tourism and how that’s changing and how roads play a part in that.
“It’s invaluable for us to come and hear about what’s happening in Wonthaggi, what’s happening in Inverloch and Phillip Island, and the roads are obviously quite important.”
VicRoads will be hosting an information session in August on the South Gippsland Highway Realignment Black Spur project.