MP slams ‘dan­ger­ous’ plan

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kate Dodd kate.dodd@bi­grigs.com.au

VIC­TO­RIAN MP Bill Til­ley has ex­pressed his anger at VicRoads’ han­dling of a fuel sta­tion be­ing built on the Hume Free­way, la­belling the de­vel­op­ment a “dog’s break­fast” that “sig­nif­i­cantly puts all driv­ers, pas­sen­gers and those of the road freight task in dan­ger”. The Be­nam­bra MP said VicRoads should have taken Supreme Court ac­tion against the ap­proval by the Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Tri­bunal of the west Wodonga United ser­vice sta­tion. As a con­se­quence of the ap­proval, the free­way’s in­ter­sec­tion with McKoy Street was per­ma­nently al­tered, with an 80km/h speed limit put in place to tackle the traf­fic tied to the ser­vice sta­tion.

Mr Til­ley slammed the de­ci­sion and sug­gested a fly­over be built at that in­ter­sec­tion in­stead so road users could safely ac­cess and exit the free­way.

“I mean we want ev­ery­body to be safe, we don’t want to see a driver from our road task fra­ter­nity... putting them­selves at enor­mous risk, and for the State and Fed­eral Govern­ment to put in en­gi­neer­ing like that in an im­por­tant part of road in­fra­struc­ture is just dis­grace­ful,” he said.

“Free­ways are for a fast-pas­sage mov­ing ve­hi­cle, whether it be pas­sen­gers or our im­por­tant road freight task.

“There should be no in­ter­sec­tions on that high­way.

“We’ve got to make sure we have the right road in­fra­struc­ture and make sure that ev­ery­one is bloody safe.” But VicRoads North East­ern re­gional di­rec­tor Nicki Kyr­i­akou ob­jected to Mr Til­ley’s claim the in­ter­sec­tion was un­safe for mo­torists. “The in­ter­sec­tion meets safety stan­dards and will im­prove traf­fic flow when the ser­vice sta­tion opens,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to VicRoads, VCAT’s de­ci­sion to al­low the ser­vice sta­tion to progress, con­di­tional on up­grad­ing the in­ter­sec­tion, ad­dressed what was ex­pected of the de­vel­oper in that par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stance.

Its stance was the in­ter­sec­tion would bet­ter cater for an­tic­i­pated higher vol­umes of turn­ing traf­fic when the ser­vice sta­tion opened and would al­low all ve­hi­cles (in­clud­ing trucks) to queue within the turn­ing lanes and not con­gest the through lanes of traf­fic.

There­fore, VicRoads con­sid­ered Supreme Court ac­tion was not war­ranted given the safety con­cerns were met by the terms of VCAT’s con­di­tional ap­proval.

Vic­to­rian Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter An­der­son said the VTA was “in lock­step with Bill Til­ley in re­spect to the con­struc­tion of this fa­cil­ity, which we agree has been poorly de­signed and lo­cated”.

“Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and safety should be the pri­or­i­ties when it comes to fa­cil­i­ties like this where pas­sen­ger and heavy ve­hi­cle move­ments and in­ter­ac­tions will be thick and fast,” Mr An­der­son said.

“Re­gret­tably, this de­vel­op­ment com­pletely misses the mark.”

Ac­cord­ing to VicRoads, the Re­gional Roads Vic­to­ria’s Hume Free­way Ac­cess Im­prove­ment Plan­ning Study is aimed at pro­vid­ing a plan for safer and im­proved ac­cess for freight and other road users, par­tic­u­larly the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The plan­ning study will ex­am­ine routes in Vic­to­ria and NSW and iden­tify safety im­prove­ments along the Hume Free­way.

❝ For the State and Fed­eral Govern­ment to put in en­gi­neer­ing like that in an im­por­tant part of road in­fra­struc­ture is just dis­grace­ful.

— MP Bill Til­ley

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL: Plans for the McKoy St and Hume Free­way in­ter­sec­tion in West Wodonga from the Wodonga City Coun­cil.

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