Roadside barriers won’t fix bad road surfaces

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

THE letter from Transport Accident Commission chief executive Joe Calafiore justifying its decision and funding the roll-out of roadside barriers across Victoria is a normal reaction from a corporate body when their actions are questioned.

The TAC and VicRoads are rolling out the barriers under the theme “barriers save lives” and give singular statements to back up this theme.

The TAC board and chief executive has risk as a big item in their operation. The eight board members come from various consultancy firms, some worked at WorkCover and so on. Most have risk portfolios.

Risk is a much bigger issue in the corporate world than is realised.

There is risk management for “customers” as in road users, the injured road users, rehabilitation and so on, and TAC employees.

The other risk to managed is the risk taken by the board tasked to spend the TAC funds collected from the motoring public.

TAC needs to make the right decisions in its role to maintain Victorian roads to a safe standard.

It is becoming common in the corporate world to reduce risk against board members by shifting responsibility for safety back onto the “customer”.

It would seem this is taking place with TAC and VicRoads, as well as other government organisations tasked with delivering services to the community.

During the past 40 years road authorities have let our roadsides develop into hazardous strips close to the roadway.

When roads are widened or passing lanes have been constructed, the scrub and trees have not been removed, and poor planning on placement of power poles have caused many fatalities.

The roadsides have become a constant hazard for motorists regarding accidents and bush and grass fires.

It now seems the easy way out is to put up barriers to keep motorists away from these hazards, and if your vehicle happens to finish up on the other side, the authorities say you shouldn’t be there.

The road barriers are fine if they are constructed to the design as outlined by VicRoads, but they are not the spec it is promoting to the public.

The specifications say setback or pullover width to be predominately four metres, some at three metres and, on small instances, 2.5 to one metre.

The reality there is very few at four and three metres, and most are three metres or less.

In many places barriers are being erected on unstable roads needing immediate rebuilding.

The fitting of barriers will not fix the dangerous road surface.

It is easy for motorists to see Gippsland is witnessing a shoddy and costly job being rolled out on their roads to satisfy the wishes of the TAC board.

Gippsland Senior
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