VICROADS should have taken Supreme Court action to stop a fuel station being built near the Hume Freeway, the member for Benambra believes.
Bill Tilley said the approval by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal of the west Wodonga United service station should have been contested.
The decision sparked the freeway’s junction with McKoy Street being altered and a permanent 80 km/h speed limit to tackle traffic tied to the United, which is expected to be open by November.
“What they (VicRoads) should have done is appeal to the Supreme Court,” Mr Tilley said.
“They know it’s the wrong decision and flies in the face of advice from road engineers.
“If a Labor government wants to spend $1 million in court on red shirt rorts then VicRoads can spend a $1 million on defending road safety.”
Regional Roads Victoria North Eastern director Nicki Kyriakou has repeatedly stressed VicRoads objected to the service station permit on the grounds of “increased traffic movements”.
She said VCAT had imposed conditions to upgrade the intersection.
Mr Tilley said it was a “cop out” by VicRoads to argue “VCAT made us do it”.
He added VicRoads could have argued in the Supreme Court that its policy on freeway service centres was being breached by the United development and cite existing safety issues at Kalkallo, near Melbourne, where a petrol station abuts the Hume.
Meanwhile, the RACV has supported VicRoads’ changes to the McKoy Street intersection which were unveiled on Friday.
The motorists’ organisation’s manager of mobility advocacy Dave Jones believes the work, which has been criticised by truck drivers, should assist drivers.
“The existing intersection has a poor safety record, so something has to be done,” Mr Jones said.
“The design under construction should be an improvement, until an interchange with ramps for traffic to and from Melbourne can be built at a later date.”
Mr Tilley suggested a flyover may need to be built a few hundred metres south of the existing intersection to accommodate ramps and the nearby railway.
That would require land acquisitions.