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Questions raised in the Macedon Ranges over delay in fixing roads

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

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Lancefield and Romsey in the Macedon Ranges Shire have both suffered from a lack of funding, leaving roads with semi-permanent reduced speed limits.

The Kilmore-Lancefield Road, managed by the Department of Transport and Planning, DTP, has had reduced speed limits to combat the issue.

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A stretch of four kilometres has been reduced from 100 kilometres an hour to 60km/h as far as four kilometres east of the Lancefield township for almost two years, with the previous temporary signs recently upgraded to fixed signs signalling the new required speed.

The road, however, has remained largely in the exact same condition as when it was first damaged as long ago as June 2021.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Emma Germano said urgent action on the state’s road network was needed.

“We need actual dollars in the budget over the next four years to give road managers certainty, which is needed to properly plan and deliver maintenance and repairs,” she said.

“Dedicated funding for local government to repair road networks damaged in the 2022 floods must be a priority as well as reintroducing the Fixing Country Roads program to help local government are responsible for most of the state’s road network.” 

The speed limit on a four-kilometre stretch of Kilmore-Lancefield Road has been reduced from 100km/h to 60km/h for almost two years with no major repairs. ​

The Fixing Country Roads Program was a State Government initiative that provided $100 million in grants to rural and regional councils to undertake projects on council-owned roads beyond regular road maintenance throughout 2019 and 2020.

Under the program, State Government funding was provided over two rounds to the Macedon Ranges Shire Council for multiple projects, including the Romsey Road reconstruction that was completed in two parts during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 financial years.

“Road maintenance funding just keeps going backwards, so it’s no wonder why our roads keep going from bad to worse,” Ms Germano said.

Further south, sections of the Melbourne-Lancefield Road, managed by DTP, have also had their speed limits reduced – a cause of concern for Romsey’s Cassy Borthwick.

“In our household we’ve got an L-plater whose responsibility is to go the speed limit, yet when somebody goes through the speed limits, they tailgate and it’s just not safe,” she said.

“The question to me is, who’s to blame for the condition of our roads? And whoever it is, get on with it and fix it.”

Ms Borthwick also said the safety barriers installed along the road created issues for crossing wildlife, adding to the potential risks of driving on poorly maintained roads.

“I think there needs to be a maintenance schedule that’s upheld by the responsible bodies, … Romsey’s about to undertake a whole lot of growth, which is going to mean additional traffic and additional road usage because we just don’t have public transport,” she said.

“While there has been some effort to [improve] that, there are certainly parts of the shire that need more attention, but the funds aren’t there.”

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