Safer roads essential

Anything that can make our roads safer has to be welcome.

It is abundantly clear of course that driver behaviour is an overwhelmingly critical factor in the trauma that takes place on our back roads and highways.

But even when you are doing everything right, matters outside your control can still result in a tragic crash.

It is no different from driving a car that falls well short on the maintenance front – if mechanical faults or other glitches are not picked up in routine inspections, then there’s a greater chance of a catastrophic failure.

And ultimately that means an accident resulting in serious injury or death.

Likewise, if our roads are not up to scratch, if there is a shortfall in the maintenance required to provide a safe passage for motorists doing the right thing then again, the outcome could be dire.

Regardless of how much is spent on creating a road in the first place – for example, freeways costing in the hundreds of millions of dollars – if recurrent funding is not factored into the equation then eventually your normal degree of deterioration will pose safety issues.

These issues become critical if such maintenance is ignored for too long. It is crucial also that our road infrastructure keeps up with the communities in which it is built.

A single-lane each way might be sufficient when the only traffic is locals going about their business on a country road.

But when a new housing estate out of town is the destination, it is clear more money will need to be invested to cater for the growth in traffic. Because if that doesn’t happen, the road becomes dangerous and beyond the capabilities expected of any motorist.

It is a wise move then by VicRoads to embark on widening works for the Kiewa Valley Highway on points between Wodonga and Mount Beauty. This is a decent investment, coming in at $8 million, and includes the installation of safety barriers.

Many in the region would be aware of just how dangerous the road can be, in certain places and certain times – especially, as VicRoads points out, in times of snow, floods and fire. This can lead to road closures and detours, which serves up additional costs for industry in the region.

The project is extremely welcome then, so we would urge the community to take up the opportunity to have their say on how it should be prioritised.