Ripon MP Louise Staley joins debate on highway wire barriers as road safety minister dismisses criticism

Ripon MP Louise Staley has entered the debate over the safety of wire barriers beside and between highway lanes.

“Local drivers are feeling the squeeze, the Andrews Government is spending billions on putting up wire rope barriers on local roadsides, but many people have raised the issue that there is no room to pull over safely,” Ms Staley posted on Facebook.

“What are your thoughts, do you feel wire rope barriers increase safety or make things worse?”

Wire barriers similar to the ones in pictures posted by Ms Staley have been installed beside the Western Highway between Ararat, Stawell and Horsham.

They have also been used to divide east and west traffic on the highway outside of Beaufort.

Roads minister Luke Donnellan and VicRoads CEO Peter Todd believe wire rope barriers will reduce the road toll in country Victoria. Picture: ADAM HOLMES

Roads minister Luke Donnellan and VicRoads CEO Peter Todd believe wire rope barriers will reduce the road toll in country Victoria. Picture: ADAM HOLMES

Victorian roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan visited an installation site on the Calder Highway last month where he spruiked the benefits of the program.

They have been criticised by motorcyclists, who fear the rope acts as a “cheese shredder” and the poles are dangerous during crashes. 

Mr Donnellan was dismissive of the claim.

“There is no evidence in the world which indicates these barriers do anything but save lives, full stop,” he said.

“So people can go around playing banjos, playing conspiracy theories, rubbish like that, they need to actually deal with the facts and figures.”

Some CFA brigades have raised concerns about a lack of gaps in the barriers for them to access incidents.

Mr Donnellan said the CFA had been heavily consulted about the wire rope barriers, and the decrease in trauma on the roads because of the barriers would mean they would not have to attend as many crashes in the future.

“The CFA is very supportive of this because they don’t need to turn out to as many incidents along the way,” he said.

More than half of the lives lost in the Grampians region in 2017 occurred when vehicles ran off roads, new Transport Accident Commission data has revealed

Of the 29 fatalities recorded across the 11 municipalities in the Grampians region, 15 were single-vehicle collisions which occurred on the roadside, with a further nine people losing their lives in head-on crashes.

The trend was consistent across all Victoria’s regions.

This story Ripon MP joins debate on highway wire barriers first appeared on The Ararat Advertiser.