Melbourne Express, Monday, October 29, 2018
* Speeds have returned to 100km/h on sections of the Tulla. According to the government, average speeds during the AM peak have almost doubled since new lanes opened. The speed limit will be permanently returned to 100km/h outbound on the Tulla between Melrose Drive and the airport. Inbound lanes will return to 100km/h later this week.
Promised road works yet to reach site of Sunday's double fatal crash October 29, 2019. 6 comments
Safety upgrades to install wire rope barriers are more than six months behind schedule on a stretch of one of regional Victoria's most dangerous roads where two people were killed on Sunday.
The Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road has seen increased traffic flows as the population expands in Melbourne's west and beyond.
Three-vehicle crash at Balliang, west of Werribee. Credit: Nine News
Ten people were killed on the road between 2012 to 2017, prompting the government to fast track a $45 million scheme to install wire rope barriers down the centre and side of the road, works that were due to be finished by the end of the year.
But locals say the upgrade is more than six months behind schedule and Sunday's double fatal in Balliang was just six kilometres away from where the safety barriers have been installed.
Balliang CFA captain Andrew Kerr said firefighters were attending more car crashes than grass fires with some locals repeatedly calling for the road to be widened into a dual carriageway to cater for the increased traffic flow.
Mr Kerr said residents were told at a recent community meeting that the current stage of road works would now be completed by the end of February 2020.
video Boy fighting for life after Balliang crash
Two people are dead and two others, including a little boy, are in hospital following a crash west of Melbourne.
“Sunday's accident was only about six or seven kilometres away from the stage that they’re up to,” Mr Kerr said.
“Unfortunately nothing has happened at all with the roadworks over winter with the excess rain we’ve had.
"They’d have to be six months behind.”
Balliang farmer Chris Sharkey said increased traffic flow in the area is “out of control” with residents holding serious concerns for driver safety on the stretch of 100km/h road.
“A lot of people are getting frustrated," Mr Sharkey said.
On Sunday, a 25-year-old man from Steiglitz and a 61-year-old woman from Clifton Springs died when three cars collided about 1pm.
Police believe the crash happened when the Steiglitz man's northbound Renault collided head-on with two southbound vehicles – a Honda wagon being driven by the Clifton Spring woman and a Ford wagon being driven by a Lara man.
A one-year-old boy, who was a passenger in the Renault, was flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries where he remains in a stable condition. The Ford driver escaped serious injury.
Victoria's road toll for 2019 now stands at 226, compared with 170 lives lost in 2018.
In July 2017, state government urged VicRoads to fast-track $45 million upgrades to Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road just days after the 10th person died there in five years.
At the time Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the works, including 35 kilometres of wire rope barriers and overtaking lanes, would begin two months later and be completed by 2020.
The following year VicRoads revealed the busy stretch remained one of the highest-risk roads in the state's south-west.
On Monday, police sources said there was “no way” the promised works could be completed by the end of the year as originally planned.
2012: A crash on Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road that killed two people on October 2, 2012. Credit: Justin McManus
When asked about the delay in completing the upgrades Scott Lawrence, the director of safer roads at Regional Roads Victoria, said stage one works between Lara and Balliang would be completed early in the new year.
Mr Lawrence said stage two works, between Little River Ripley Road at Balliang and Parwan Exford Road at Maddingley, had only recently been granted environmental approvals.
Road widening works to allow for the installation of "flexible safety barriers" would begin in early 2020, he said.
"We are completing a raft of safety upgrades on Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road now that we have received environmental approvals," Mr Lawrence said.
2012: A crash on Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road that killed two people on October 2, 2012.Credit:Cathy Jackson
Nearly half of all road deaths across the state happen on 100km/h and 110km/h roads, according to the Transport Accident Commission, mainly due to drivers running off the road or hitting other vehicles head-on.
* Wire rope barriers on the sides of the road don't do anything to stop head-on crashes like this incident. Only fully divided roads would do that, which is NOT the upgrade that is currently underway.
* So if it was a head-on, one car crossing over to the other side of the road and into another car, how would the Brifen wire rope fencing along the edge help? Infact, having the fencing down the sides leaves nowhere to go in this situation (assuming they could react in time). The only way it will work is to have a dual carriageway with the fencing down the middle, and the article makes no mention of this.
* I travelled this road yesterday. needs to be widened with two lanes each side. rope barriers should not have been installed until road widening occurred AND the dreadful pot holed state of the road remedied. worst road I have seen in a long time.
* Stupid wire rope barriers all they do is at speed force the vehicle into the path of oncoming vehicles on single lane roads. Fix the road, instead of pretending to save lives!
* Ask the local MP's why this is taking so long..
* The wet winter we had is the explanation the works are taking so long. Also, there is no public transport along this busy road, therefore those travelling between Bacchus Marsh and Geelong have no choice but to drive.