Wire rope barrier concerns
07 February 2018
I today call on the Premier and the Minister for Roads and Road Safety to immediately review the tragic death of a young woman whose car hit a wire rope fence on the Calder Freeway last week. I have been told that the wire rope barrier was installed behind a fixed rail W-beam, which resulted in the driver crashing and sliding along the rope barrier and into the end of the rail barrier.
In December I stood in this house and asked the minister to halt the rollout of wire rope barriers until fears about safety could be addressed, and in January I wrote to him again outlining my concerns. I have since been told that the minister's rushed rollout of wire rope barriers has resulted in projects which do not meet safety standards and that there are not enough people to inspect and supervise the works. Trevor Owen, the assistant chief officer for the south-east region of the Country Fire Authority, has also gone public with his concerns. On 10 January he said:
Treating one safety risk can create another. Long-distance wire rope barriers along our major roads will have a consequence on firefighter safety and delay access to fires in some cases along roadsides.
If that was not enough, last Friday my office received a phone call from a motorist travelling on the Hume Highway to Melbourne who saw that people were mowing the median strip between the dual carriageways with push mowers because they could not get tractors behind the wire rope barriers. Instead of investigating these concerns or agreeing to my request to halt the rollout, the minister's response was to label country people 'dingbats'.