Warburton Hwy, Seville East needs solution

Reading a Newspaper

Thursday, 13 February 2020

By Laura Armitage

A terrified Yarra Valley community is outraged at the minor safety trimmings done to a deadly stretch of road, which has been called a “slap in the face”.

A 1.7km section of the Warburton Highway in Seville East has been fitted with reflective markers and guideposts according to the Department of Transport.

But the changes have met with disgust, neighbours saying these measures won’t address the daily rear-end accidents and constant danger to schoolchildren crossing the road at peak times.

The Seville East Traffic Safety Group has been lobbying the government for a designated turning lane off Warburton Highway to ensure pedestrians are not in danger of being smashed into by cars doing 90km/h.

Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader has reported on the dire state of the highway — particularly between Peters and Douthie roads — with people living in the town “dicing with death” daily.

There were nine officially recorded crashes along that stretch from January, 2014 to May 2019 — one resulted in the death of a 54-year-old man last April.

But according to firefighters, emergency services respond to incidents at the notorious section of highway every day.

Group member Claire Knowles said reflective markers were not what the community wanted and it was not an acceptable solution to the dire state of the road.

“It’s absolutely insulting if that’s the Transport Minister’s (Jaala Pulford) safety solution for this road,” Ms Knowles said.

“If they think a couple of reflective markers are going to stop cars being rear-ended and save a child’s life, then they’re kidding themselves.”

She said: “There is no expression of commitment or interest in this issue as far as I’m concerned from the department or the minister.”

“We know how stupid some drivers are.

“I read the Warburton Highway is the worst road in the Valley for drug affected drivers and we need protection from these drivers and our kids need protection from these drivers.”

Evelyn state Liberal MP Bridget Vallence said the minor works had not improved anything, with accidents still happening along the stretch of road.

“They’re clearly not addressing the issue, which is about residents being able to safely turn off and onto the Warburton Highway safely,” she said.

“At the moment they’re sitting ducks.

“If VicRoads response is to put reflectors on the road, that’s a slap in the face to the residents who are still worried about safety and children crossing the road.”

She said these markers and lines had not stopped the risk of rear-end collisions and road trauma.

“It’s a known danger road and this is a pretty unacceptable response to addressing the concerns of locals.”

A Department of Transport spokeswoman, who did not want to be named, said: “We listened to the community and reviewed Warburton Highway – and in response we’ve made improvements to keep the Highway safe for the community and visitors to the area.”

“We’ll continue to monitor how these upgrades help to ensure everyone gets to their destination safely.”