MP slams ‘dangerous’ plan
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
CONTROVERSIAL: Plans for the McKoy St and Hume Freeway intersection in West Wodonga from the Wodonga City Council.