Wire rope safety barriers to be audited
THE Victorian Auditor-General’s Office is carrying out a state-wide audit on wire rope safety barriers in regional areas, which has been welcomed by Liberal Polwarth MP Richard Riordan.
The state Labor government has committed $340 million towards making rural roads safer, including installing barriers on 330 kilometres of high-risk, high-volume and high-speed regional roads.
The Auditor-General’s office noted that flexible safety barriers can reduce crashes by up to 85 per cent, and that in 2018, the number of road crash fatalities fell by 17 per cent from the previous year and fatalities on high speed
regional roads reduced by 44 per cent.
“Despite the fall in 2018 of road crash fatalities on high-speed regional roads, regional road safety barriers have received significant media attention because of their high visibility and a range of concerns.
“Some stakeholders are concerned that the barriers may not be as effective as the Victorian government claims, and that they may exacerbate injuries for motorcyclists.”
The audit will examine the regional road barriers program and the extent to which the barriers are contributing to improved safety outcomes.
Mr Riordan – who has been a long-time critic of the wire rope barriers – said Labor was spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the safety measure.
“However, there are grave concerns about the lack of cost benefit analysis.
“Under intense questioning at the Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates hearings, the state government admitted that funds and resources that would normally be spent on fixing potholes and crumbling road edges is being spent on fixing wire rope barriers.
“After spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the wire rope barrier rollout over recent years, we have still seen a massive rise in the road toll in 2019.
“I think there are some tough issues and questions that the Auditor General will have to grapple with in this report. Questions about road safety priorities and the best value