Joint push for safety barriers

March 14, 2018

The new stretch of wire rope barrier being installed on the Melba Highway near Yea. Photo: submitted.

VicRoads and the CFA stand side-by-side in the rollout of flexible safety barriers across the state’s highest risk roads, according to a statement released last week.

The CFA acknowledges the installation of safety barriers is a key road safety initiative, the statement said, as part of the organisation’s ‘‘mission to protect lives and property from fire and other emergencies’’.

‘‘These barriers and other road safety treatments will help to prevent crashes and, by doing so, reduce the number of deaths on country roads and reduce the number of call-outs emergency agencies are required to attend,’’ the statement said.

VicRoads acting deputy chief executive Robyn Seymour said the organisation was committed to working closely with the CFA and all other emergency services to roll out flexible safety barriers.

‘‘We acknowledge there are some concerns among local CFA brigades and we are working with them to address those issues,’’ she said.

‘‘Flexible safety barriers are proven life savers — and that’s why we’re installing them across the state. One life lost on our roads is one too many.’’

CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said both groups are on board for any measure that will see fewer people hurt on Victorian roads. ‘‘Many of our people, as first responders, know the devastation of road trauma,’’ he said.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said flexible safety barriers are proven to save lives, stating they reduce the risk of head on and run-off road crashes by 85 per cent.

‘‘The barriers that were installed last year have already been hit more than 300 times — that’s 300 potentially life-threatening collisions avoided,’’ Ms Symes said.

However Member for Euroa Steph Ryan, who recently announced the Liberal and Nationals Coalition will suspend the rollout of flexible safety barriers if elected November, said there are safety issues which still need to be addressed.

‘‘I am not opposed to the strategic placement of these barriers in places where they will be most effective. I am however vehemently opposed to a blanket rollout which jeopardises community safety,’’ Ms Ryan said.

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