Up­grade to deadly road

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - OLIVIA SHYING

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.

Pic­ture: ALI­SON WYND

ROAD WAR­RIORS: Balliang East prin­ci­pal Caryn Fox with Roads Min­is­ter Luke Don­nel­lan at Bac­chus Marsh Rd this week.

Pic­ture: NIGEL FOX

A fa­tal car crash on Bac­chus Marsh Rd last year.

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