Bull says highway between Bairnsdale and Stratford remains unsafe

A truck pulled over in the emergency lane on the Princes Highway between Bairnsdale and Stratford, demonstrating large vehicles cannot pull over and be off the road safely. Photo: Contributed

HAVING raised concerns over the number of collisions with the centre of the road barrier between Bairnsdale and Stratford, Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull has been advised there will be ‘works to enhance delineation’ at 39 sites.
“If Regional Roads Victoria has to make changes at 39 sites, it is yet another concession this work was not done properly in the first place,” Mr Bull said.
“At my invitation the new minister came and drove the road, and while I was interstate at the time, I appreciated his willingness to do this and liaise on this issue.
“What I wanted him to see was the narrow shoulder that does not allow room for broken down vehicles to pull over and be sufficiently off the road.
“As locals know, a large truck cannot get off the carriageway and in relation to a car, you cannot change a tyre on the right-hand side  without having your backside or legs in the traffic lane.
“I am pleased the minister looked at this and his correspondence to me stated ‘having seen this stretch of road first hand, I can appreciate these concerns’.
“However, what he did not outline was what was going to be done to address the matter and this is something I have followed up on, with further correspondence.
“If we both agree it is not suitable, as road safety experts have highlighted – then we need to know what is being done to address it,” he said.

State talks up $90.5m Gippsland road ‘blitz’

THE state government says it has spent $90.5 million on more than 374 kilometres of works across Gippsland —92km more than pre-season estimates.
Since September 2020, State Roads and Road Safety Minister Ben Carroll said crews had upgraded some of the region’s most important freight and travel routes, including the Princes Highway, South Gippsland and Monaro highways.
He said the works would ensure Gippsland drivers, freight operators and visitors to the region would have access to safer, more reliable journeys.
The blitz had also supported jobs on the ground and right across the supply chain, helping boost regional Victorian economies.
Mr Carroll said state-wide, crews had worked to rebuild, repair, and resurface more than 2430km of Victoria’s road network – exceeding pre-blitz estimates and delivering more reliable journeys for local drivers, tourists, and freight operators.
On top of this, maintenance crews filled more than 230,000 potholes, repaired, or replaced 41,000 signs and mowed more than 50,000km of roadside grass, as well as spending more than 5000 hours responding to emergency call-outs across the state.
“Our extensive road maintenance blitz has upgraded some of our state’s most important roads – keeping communities connected, ensuring freight can stay on the move and allowing those exploring Victoria to do so safely,” Mr Carroll said.
“Road maintenance doesn’t just deliver safer and more reliable journeys for Victorians – it gives local communities a much-needed economic boost as we continue to recover from impacts of the pandemic.”
Eastern Victoria MLC Harriet Shing said the road maintenance blitz was ensuring the region
remained connected to Melbourne and other regions across the state.
Fellow Eastern Victoria MLC Jane Garrett said as the Gippsland economy continued to grow, these road maintenance works were vital to ensuring safer and more reliable freight routes for the thousands of operators transporting goods across Victoria every day.
Preparations for next season’s maintenance blitz are already underway, as road maintenance experts finalise a list of projects that will begin when warmer weather makes conditions more suitable for road building.