Dec 20, 2023 | Latest News

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The State and Federal Governments should take urgent action to improve safety on a ‘horror stretch’ of the Princes Highway according to Lakes Entrance and district emergency service workers and local Members of Parliament.

Representatives from the Country Fire Authority, SES and ambulance services attended a meeting organised by Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester and State Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull, in response to a series of crashes between Swan Reach and Lakes Entrance.

Regional Roads Victoria was invited to attend the meeting but failed to send a representative.

“We need action now before more people are killed and injured on this stretch of road which is a notorious black spot, particularly in wet weather,” Mr Chester said.

“The meeting heard first hand accounts from the emergency crews who have attended dozens of crashes in recent years on this short section of highway. Emergency workers are being traumatised by attending preventable crashes on the highway.

“There are problems with drainage and the road surface which need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, along with a full-scale safety assessment, and major changes to the design of the road.”

Mr Chester said he wrote to the State Government in March this year to urge action on the road surface but had been told there were no plans to improve the highway.

“It’s an absolute disgrace as the road surface has deteriorated and contributed to recent crashes,” Mr Chester said.

“We are expected to make sure our cars are roadworthy but governments are failing to work together to provide car-worthy roads.

“While the State Government owns the road and is solely responsible for its upkeep, we were able to secure funding from the previous Federal Government for Princes Highway improvement works and I want to know whether both levels of government are prepared to work together to fund major upgrades.

“They are spending billions of dollars to save a few minutes for commuters in Melbourne when they could be saving lives in regional areas.”

Mr Bull said there were short-term remedies and some longer term solutions needed to improve the situation for locals and visitors.

“We need to get the drainage improved immediately to ensure water doesn’t run across the road each time we have a significant rain event,” Mr Bull said.

“At the same time, some upgraded signage warning motorists of the conditions may help raise awareness of the high crash rate on this section of highway.

“Then we need a commitment for a long-term solution to the poorly designed bends and road surface which is contributing to trauma.

“It’s not good enough to simply blame the drivers when we know the road conditions are extremely poor and are contributing to the high number of crashes on a relatively short section of the Princes Highway.”

The two MPs have written to the State Minister for Transport on behalf of emergency service workers and local residents in a bid to secure the much-needed improvements.







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