by Ian Blyth
THE debate continues to rage on the placement of wire rope barriers on district roads with concern expressed that the latest round of wire rope barriers are being installed in the wrong places and without proper planning.
The Kilmore and District Residents and Ratepayers Association (KADRRA) has weighed into the debate calling the program ‘a waste of taxpayers’ money’.
A spokesperson for KADDRA said that given the massive development at Merrifield, Cloverton, Mandalay and the proposed Interstate Freight terminal at Beveridge it would be more beneficial to add another lane on the Freeway.
“Given that the Hume Freeway is beginning to resemble the Monash ‘parking lot’. These wire crash barriers will have to be removed in that case. This is the height of stupidity from both VicRoads and the government,” the spokesperson said.
Some of the specific concerns about the latest installations include impeding access and manoeuvrability for emergency services, compromising motorcycle safety if a rider connects with the barrier and considerable vegetation growth under the barrier rope which pose a significant fire risk and maintenance issues.
Others have described situations where the wire rope barriers are installed too close to the side of the road and inhibit drivers pulling over safely due to a flat tire or a breakdown.
One North Central Review reader, who asked not to be named, said that she stood in fear as her son changed a driver’s side flat tire last week.
“We got a puncture at Kalkallo and there was not enough room to pull safely off the road. We found one of those orange cones a worker had left behind and placed it behind the car and I stood watch while my son changed the tyre – it was a terrifying experience,” she said.
The CFA position paper states that ‘That the minimum four metre clearance from the carriageway to the wire rope barrier on the left hand side; and a minimum three metres clearance on the right hand side on single direction divided carriageways and the desirable four metres on two way, two lane roads be upheld to allow minimum space for emergency vehicle parking.’
A review of several locations shows that their guidelines have not been followed.
Member for Euroa, Steph Ryan, has stated that a Liberal Nationals Government will suspend the rollout and undertake a review of the process.
“The review will include consultation with key stakeholders such as the CFA and RACV to determine a common sense approach to the placement and extent of future Wire Rope Barriers implementation,” Ms Ryan said.
However, Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, defended the rollout saying that it was being delivered in line with AustRoads and CFA guidelines.
Ms Symes added that VicRoads is developing detailed mapping of the barriers and the various breaks to enable emergency services to better plan their responses to emergencies, and is working with the CFA and emergency services to develop training packages on how to work with the flexible safety barriers in emergencies.