More tree danger at Merrijig
THE article, “Tree action on Midland Highway” in the Mansfield Courier on February 5, indicating that work will commence in coming weeks on the section between Fords Creek and Sovereign Court, has sparked some action from another part of the shire.
David Hume, who lives on Mt Buller Road at Merrijig, has penned a letter to Bryan Sherritt, VicRoads regional director, regarding the overhanging trees in that part of the area.
“I firmly understand that there are two major risks relating to overhanging tree limbs - the first is clearly those which are sometimes called ‘Widow Makers’ where falling limbs can cause serious injury or death to any person/s who are unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr Hume said in his letter.
“The second major risk relates to periods of bushfire, when overhanging limbs are an even greater danger, if they catch fire and fall, or indeed fall because of the strong winds known to exist at these times.
“Even if they do not hit anybody, there is great danger that they can block the highway.”
Mr Hume noted that at a recent CFA meeting at the Merrijig Hall, it was clearly explained that the fire danger for residents of Saw Mill Settlement, was severe, and they were strongly advised to leave early.
“A hand out brochure was on the table addressed to the SMS group and it clearly made this point,” Mr Hume explained.
“The only place of refuge indicated they should go to is the Pinnacle Valley Resort.
“If one then considers the problem further, it is clear that this advice should also apply to those of Changue Road and Alpine Ridge.”
Mr Hume visited Pinnacle Valley Resort, and discussed the problem with one of their fire crew.
“It was pointed out that not only do they have to possibly shelter many of the above group, but there are likely to be some of their own guests who decide to remain there,” he outlined.
“Logically, t heir shelter space will be heavily taxed.
“It is clear therefore that those who choose to go to the neighborhood safer place at Mansfield, including all the residents along the highway, may be in danger from falling limbs, and even worse, may be trapped and not able to return if the road ahead is blocked.”
Mr Hume pointed out to Mr Sherritt that there are two really dangerous sections, the first is between Saw Mill Settlement, Pinnacle Valley and the Timbertop turn off, and the second is the subdivision section starting about one kilometre further toward Merrijig and continuing on almost to Merrijig.
“From Merrijig to Mansfield the road is fairly safe, except that the grass on either side of the road is much too high at the moment and could produce flames three to four metres high, where people may have to drive,” Mr Hume noted.
Mr Hume has asked Mr Sherritt to arrange inspection of the problem areas mentioned above, and take whatever action is deemed to be wise, to greatly reduce or eliminate the dangers to life mentioned there.
“As I was one of the chairmen of t he Alpine Resorts Commission, I am aware that VicRoads is responsible for the Mansfield - Mt Buller Road, and I am concerned that matters of legal liability could arise if adequate maintenance is not carried out to rectify the considerable dangers outlined above,” he added.
TREE DANGER: Some of the overhanging trees above the Mt Buller Road that resident David Hume is concerned about.