Upgrade to deadly road
BALLIANG East Primary School principal Caryn Fox has been campaigning for the speed limit outside her small school to be dropped for years.
The school is on the notorious Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Rd, which holds the unenvious title of the region’s most dangerous road.
Now, with a $50 million package of works designed to make the road safer and curb fatalities, Mrs Fox’s battle has been won.
Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan announced this week work has started on the first section, between Lara and Balliang East, with major construction to start next week.
The upgrade of the section between Lara and Maddingley was fast-tracked after a fatal crash last year.
Between December 2011 to December 2016, there were 13 serious crashes, with six people losing their lives and a further 32 people suffering serious injuries.
Mr Donnellan said VicRoads had done extensive consultation to understand the community’s safety concerns.
“This stage . . . will be things like centre-line wire rope bar- riers, left-hand side flexible safety barriers, intersection upgrades, roundabouts, widening of the roads and overtaking lanes,” he said.
“This is one of the most dangerous roads in Victoria and we need to get in there and do this work.”
But Mr Donnellan said Federal Government permit delays had led to extensive delays with the delivery of stages of two and three.
“This is a dangerous road, I don’t want to see any more delays . . . I want to get on with two and three so we can provide a safe trip between Geelong and Bacchus Marsh,” he said.
Mrs Fox said she was pleased to see safety concerns voiced by the community were finally being address.
“Basically the amount of traffic . . . our enrolment has increased so we have that traffic going into School Rd and out of School Rd,” she said.
“When I hear those brakes going I brace myself and wait.
“There will be the wire barrier rope going down the middle.
“Hopefully this will make a significant difference.”
The safety upgrades are funded under the State Government’s $1.4 billion Towards Zero Action Plan, which aims to ensure no one is killed or badly injured on our roads.
Construction of this first section of work is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
ROAD WARRIORS: Balliang East principal Caryn Fox with Roads Minister Luke Donnellan at Bacchus Marsh Rd this week.
A fatal car crash on Bacchus Marsh Rd last year.