- Published on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 11:00
Corangamite Shire Mayor Jo Beard has described an idea to reduce speed limits on country roads to reduce the road toll as “an attempt by VicRoads to distract people from the real issue.”
“Let’s be honest. The real safety issue here is the appalling condition of their roads and the fact that the State Government has let it get to this by not adequately funding VicRoads,” she said.
She was responding to VicRoads Chief Executive John Merritt’s comments in the local media last week that “part of the Towards Zero Strategy is trying to work better with communities about where that (reducing speed limits) might be a practical option for them.”
“What’s practical about lowering the speed limit?” she asked.
“It ultimately costs our communities, impacting productivity, operating costs and our local economy.
“In a rural Shire where we rely heavily on our roads to get from A to B, it’s not practical at all,” she said.
In 2003-2004, VicRoads data showed the percentage of distressed main (VicRoads) roads in Corangamite Shire was just over eight percent. Data in 2013-2014 shows that this has risen to 18.2 percent.
“The main VicRoads network in Corangamite Shire has deteriorated so much over the past 10 years that we need $55 million just to bring it back to an acceptable and safe standard,” Cr Beard said.
“Our residents drive these roads every day. They are unsafe.
“I’m all for the Towards Zero Strategy, but don’t use safety as an excuse to lower the speed limit on rural roads when the underlying issue is the poor condition of these roads that they don’t have the money to fix properly,” she said.
“Stop talking about it and just fix it. We deserve better.”