Barriers spark safety fears

January 09, 2018

Alarm bells...Access behind new roadside barriers, like this one on the Midland Hwy, has become an issue for emergency services. Some of the barriers are wire rope and some are metal, and they can run for more than 1 km without a break.

The rollout of wire rope barriers on the Midland Hwy should be stopped to allow for further investigation and consultation with the community, says Victorian Nationals Deputy Leader Steph Ryan.

Ms Ryan said farmers, road users and emergency services personnel had raised concerns with her about the installation of wire rope barriers.

‘‘Until these concerns are properly addressed, the rollout should be halted. There is real concern that there is a lack of space for larger vehicles such as trucks, buses and fire tankers should they need to pull over,’’ she said.

‘‘The lack of space also raises questions about how farmers are supposed to safely move large machinery between properties without taking up space in the opposite lane.

‘‘We need to ensure the barriers fulfil their purpose of increasing safety instead of heightening risk.’’

Ms Ryan said she was particularly concerned about access for emergency services vehicles.

‘‘People feel that the rollout of these barriers on the Midland Hwy was dreamt up by a bureaucrat within the TAC (Transport Accident Commission) who has no understanding of the road, the need to move farming machinery or provide access for emergency services.’’

Ms Ryan asked Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan in November what provisions were being made for first responders in the event of an emergency.

‘‘Given the minister still hasn’t responded, I have no confidence that the issue of emergency access has been considered.’’

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