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VIC Road Repairs And Safety Under Threat: Budget Cut Hits Vicroads - The Age

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by Sir Ride Alot, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. The best part from this article is the scrapping of the road safety division. It seems like the decade of safety industry greed may be coming to an end.

    Road repairs and safety under threat: budget cut hits VicRoads

    Date November 6, 2012
    Adam Carey

    BUDGET cuts have forced VicRoads to scrap its road safety division and ditch its long-held strategy for maintaining the state's roads, even though the strategy was designed to avoid the need for major, expensive repairs.

    It has slashed in half its road repaving commitments for the coming year, expecting to resurface just 3.2 per cent of Victoria's roads. A previous strategy to resurface 7 per cent each year was explicitly designed to reduce repair costs.

    VicRoads has also scrapped its Road Safety and Network Access division, as about 450 staff depart under the state government's public servant redundancy program.

    The division managed strategies for reducing road trauma and improving truck freight routes. Remaining road safety staff have been scattered across the organisation.

    David Shelton, VicRoads' road safety co-ordinator, said road safety work would not be diminished.

    ''Improving road safety and reducing the road toll remains a key priority for VicRoads,'' Mr Shelton said.

    According to VicRoads' website, the strategy, called ''Stitch in Time'', has since 1993 ''ensured that regular and timely maintenance has been carried out to prevent roads deteriorating to the point where they require major work''.

    ''This helps to ensure roads are smoother for all road users, and is also a cost-saving measure, preventing the need for expensive major rehabilitation.''

    VicRoads spokesman Travers Purton said the general principles of Stitch in Time still applied and road resurfacing was happening where it was needed most.

    ''This means that, from year to year, funding for a region may increase or decrease depending on how works are prioritised across Victoria,'' Mr Purton said.

    Months of heavy rain have damaged the state's roads and the Baillieu government partially reversed its cuts to road maintenance last month when it announced a $45 million ''boost'' for the worst affected roads. First on the list was the Henty Highway in western Victoria, where $1.2 million will be spent fixing a badly potholed stretch of road near Branxholme.

    VicRoads engineers have welcomed the extra funding, but warned it was likely to be a Band-Aid solution.

    ''At a time when engineers are advising the need for greater investment in roads, we are seeing patching replace repairing, engineers being cut from VicRoads and budgets being constrained,'' said Bede Payne, the Victorian director of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia, which represents VicRoads engineers. ''This kind of cost-cutting will cost Victorian taxpayers in the long run.''

    Cars are also being damaged by hitting potholes.

    MorningtonPeninsula resident Selina Gilmour recently made an insurance claim against VicRoads after sustaining minor damage to her car for the fourth time this year, she says from hitting potholes.

    ''I have been doing the run from Balnarring to Balwyn for six years and I've noticed this year the holes have increased significantly,'' Ms Gilmour said.

    VicRoads rejected her claim because each incident caused less than $1220 damage, its minimum threshold for compensation. It referred her claim to the Mornington Peninsula Shire, which also knocked her back. It said it had inspected that road and found no problems.

    ''There is no evidence that the council had received any complaints regarding a pothole prior to this event,'' it wrote. ''You should be aware that potholes can form in the road surface extremely quickly and with very little indication that the roadway is breaking down.''

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/road-repairs-and-safety-under-threat-budget-cut-hits-vicroads-20121105-28u3x.html#ixzz2BW3kStUG
  2. What a surprising thing for an engineer who makes their living repairing the state's roads to say.

    I wonder if there is any real incentive for them to make the best they can of their reduced budget, or whether they'll just play politics and let the roads break up so they can lobby for more money.
  3. #3 Fractalz, Nov 8, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
    Is therecurrently a central system in place to report road surface problems and, if so, is that system well advertised to the motoring public. Surely if they fail to act on a report of a problem then there is liability?

    Oh and is the motorcycle levy being used as promised? Has that changed?

    Curious minds are wondering
  4. Sounds a bit like they want you to complain to your Federal Member about the states not getting a bigger cut of fuel excise and GST.
  5. there is. if they don't fix it they put a warning sign up! even with the current funding some signs have been there for months.
  6. More or less, yes.

    The courts tend to look favourably upon Councils and other bodies responsible for maintenance of public roads/footpaths/etc because, with literally hundreds of thousands of kilometres of roads and probably tens of thousands of kilometres of footpaths, total knowledge of all defects is impossible. Especially when massive potholes can form in just one rainstorm.

    Furthermore, with only limited financial and physical resources available, repairs have to be prioritised to where they are most needed first.

    If, however, the Council had received multiple complaints/notifications about the defect and hasn't been seen to do anything about it for a sufficiently long period of time - for example, they either have not repaired it or have not put in place a plan to repair it at some point - then the court tends to side with the Plaintiff.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Just go to the VicRoads website and go to the contact us section.
    There is a drop down menu and you select Road Hazard. Put in the description and address and whether or not you want to be contacted.

    I've used it a few times and within a few days they fix the issue.
  8. Early 90's they put a 2 cent levy on petrol to fix and build the roads, then they put another 3 cents on the levy mid 90's, its still being paid in from the sale of petrol, it was never taken off, so where has that money gone,

    Thats 5 cents a litre, Polititions retirement package,
  9. Whip out ya digicams folks... let's have a pothole cavalcade.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. So the roads in Vic will start to resemble those in NSW?
  11. take pictures by all means but sit on them until a high impact way of displaying them can be found. ideas?
  12. Yes, there is:

    Handy number to store in your phone.
  13. There is already a facebook group for the Baw Baw shire pot holes. http://www.facebook.com/groups/274500109324103/?fref=ts Doesn't seem to achieve much.

    Hit a hole so big down past leongatha last week the Land Cruiser struggled! I honestly think I would have died on my bike. That's okay though. There was a "sign" a couple of metres before it.
  14. not really in the governments face. (or in anyone's face unless they are on facebook)
  15. Correct. However the shire does ask people to report hazards via Facebook. So it should be in their face at least.
  16. yep and they actually respond to it. I rang them once and complained that the traffic lights at the end of my street don't detect my bike. I got a call from an engineer about a week later saying they'd turn up the sensitivity. They did and it now works.

    I nearly fell off my chair though, I expected my request it to go into a black hole and nothing to ever happen.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. I suggest everybody switch to supermotards and dual sports and learn to enjoy the crappy roads. ;)