Wire rope barriers on highway a 'step back'

Wire rope barriers on highway a 'step back'

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The proposed installation of wire rope barriers is a step backwards and a band-aid measure, according to opponents of the project.

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Plans to install wire rope barriers on a section of the Princes Highway near Warrnambool have been met with strong opposition.

Local residents as well as road users from a wide area of the western district are up in arms over Regional Roads Victoria's plans to install three barriers, including a barrier down the centre of the road, on section of the road between Panmure and Allansford.

Allansford dairy farmer Michael Mahony said the plan to install wire rope barriers, funded by the TAC, was a "step backwards".

"This plan will actually be an imposition on traffic flows," he said.

"We need to have dual highways for the traffic volumes of the future."

But Regional Roads Victoria acting director Safer Roads John Matta said the barriers would save lives.

"Flexible safety barriers reduce the risk of death and serious injury from head-on and run-off-road collisions," he said.

"As well as installing the barriers, a range of other works will be undertaken including improving the condition of the existing road surface on the undivided section of the highway between Panmure and Allansford."

Mr Mahony said the installation flew in the face of decades-long plans to duplicate the stretch of highway.

He said during the 1970s land was purchased between Panmure to Allansford by compulsory acquisition for the expansion of the road, with a number of farms being split.

He said the original plan for the duplication was a good idea as it bypassed Cudgee and Allansford and eliminated two railway crossings.

"This new plan is a step backwards; wire ropes might save lives, but so does two lanes both ways," he said.

Shadow Minister for Rural Roads Roma Britnell said the government needed to address the poor condition of rural roads.

She said road surfaces needed to be fixed before spending money on other measures that may or may not be in the right place.

Wire rope barriers in the right place were effective, but the way they were being rolled out compromised road widths.

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