Ryan wants review
The Nationals want an urgent review into the use of wire rope barriers, which flank roads in and around Benalla, following the death of a young woman last week.
However, Labor argues the barriers are safe and have pointed to their record in preventing serious incidents.
State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has called on the Premier and Roads Minister to investigate the wire rope barriers project in the wake of the tragic crash, which occurred on the Calder Fwy.
Speaking in Parliament Ms Ryan said an insider with intimate knowledge of the wire rope barrier project had raised concerns that the rushed rollout had resulted in projects that don’t meet safety standards.
‘‘Thousands of people across Victoria believe the rollout of wire rope barrier is making our roads more dangerous,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘I am urging the Premier and the Roads Minister to halt the rollout until these concerns and last week’s awful accident can be investigated by authorities,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘The information passed to me alleges the wire rope barrier was installed behind a fixed-rail W-beam, which caused the car to slide along the rope barrier and into the end of the rail barrier.
‘‘This is a serious and alarming allegation, which warrants an immediate and thorough investigation.
‘‘In December I stood in Parliament and asked Luke Donnellan to halt the rollout until fears about its safety could be investigated and in January I wrote to the minister to again convey my concerns,’’ Ms Ryan said.
Victorian Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan has not halted the rollout and points to statistics that support the need for wire-rope barriers.
‘‘Flexible safety barriers are proven to save lives, reducing the risk of head-on and run-off-road crashes by 85 per cent — that’s why we’re investing in them,’’ Mr Donnellan said.
‘‘The barriers that were installed last year have already been hit more than 300 times.
‘‘That’s 300 potentially life-threatening crashes that have been avoided.
‘‘Steph Ryan continues to make shameful attempts to use these life-saving barriers to score grubby political points.
‘‘Saving lives on country roads has always been an issue that’s more important than petty party politics, it’s a sad indictment that the Nationals and country Liberals no longer hold that view.’’
However, Ms Ryan said these concerns were not just her own, stating they also came from emergency service workers, farmers and road transport industry workers, as well as motorists and motorbike riders.
CFA assistant chief officer Trevor Owen is someone who has also gone public with his concerns.
‘‘Treating one safety risk can create another. Longdistance wire-rope barriers along our major roads will have a consequence on fire- fighter safety and delay access to fires in some cases along roadsides,’’ Mr Owen said.
Ms Ryan has launched a petition, which will be tabled in Parliament, calling on the Victorian Government to immediately halt the rollout of wire rope barriers until safety issues had been addressed and a more strategic approach for barrier placement could be adopted.
‘‘I am not opposed to the strategic placement of these barriers in places where they will be most effective,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘I am, however, vehemently opposed to a blanket rollout, which jeopardises community safety.’’
Visit www.stephryan.com. au to download the petition.
Barrier debate: The Nationals want an urgent review into the use of wire rope barriers.