A dangerous act of sabotage has put motorists at risk of skidding off the winding Tawonga Gap Road and down a steep cliff.
Police were shocked when they attended what they initially thought was a diesel spill about 11am Saturday, and found it was not an accident at all.
Mount Beauty’s Leading Senior Constable Peter Johns said two distinct patterns of oil on the road pointed to something more deliberate.
“When everybody arrived, we found two 20-litre drums hidden in the bushes nearby,” he said.
“We believe we had someone put diesel over a sharp bend.”
The winding road between Bright and Mount Beauty already had the reputation as one of the trickiest in the North East.
Luckily no one was injured before emergency services arrived.
“Our first person through it ended up sideways, but was able to recover before they went over the edge,” Leading Senior Constable Johns said.
“(The risk was) they were either going to go into a tree or down a cliff.”
He said police had not caught the offender or worked out a motive for the sabotage, but were investigating the possibility it was a targeted attack on vulnerable road users.
“The main concern us with motorbikes and cyclists,” he said.
“It had the potential for serious consequences.”
Emergency services were quickly on the scene and firefighters cleaned up the spill while police slowed passing traffic.
RoadSafe North East member Robbie Allen said cyclists on Tawonga Gap Road often reached high speeds coming down the hill around the bends.
“There’s quite a few cyclists up there, especially this time of year because of the weather,” he said. “It seems a very unusual thing to do.”
The organisation planned to warn cyclists about the danger of sabotage.
“It would be totally unexpected,” Mr Allen said.
“You would certainly come to grief.”
Leading Senior Constable Johns said police often patrolled the road during a busy spring period for cyclists and motorcyclists, but would now be even more vigilant.
Anyone with information about the diesel on Tawonga Gap Road on Saturday can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.