A DRIVER is lucky to be alive after his vehicle careered through a concrete and cable bridge barrier into a full irrigation ditch and sunk.
The driver managed to free himself and swim to safety.
It is the second vehicle in a week to break through the barrier and land in the channel beside the intersection of the Pyramid Hill-Bendigo Road and Prairie West Road near Mitiamo.
Senior Constable Bill Edwards from Central Goldfields Highway Patrol said “road design” and “environmental factors” had contributed to the crash.
He said the driver was “very, very fortunate” not to be injured and get out of the car on his own.
Senior Constable Edwards said he thought there was an “inherent design flaw” in the intersection, where two roads came to a head over the crossing on the bridge.
“I believe the local council will take this up with VicRoads,” he said.
Wedderburn policeman Sergeant Brad Hyatt also attended the scene and said the intersection was a “tricky one to negotiate”.
Sergeant Hyatt said it was a difficult patch of road for those new to the area.
“Even driving it myself at night, you really have to take your time and take care.”
The driver of the vehicle, who did not want to be identified, was not at the scene by the time police arrived.
The incident occurred about 6.30am on Tuesday and police arrived at 9am.
The driver took himself to safety, rang triple zero and rang a friend to pick him up.
Sergeant Hyatt spoke with the driver on the phone afterwards
“There was some ice on the road and he indicated he’d been blinded by a car with its lights on high beam, then it lost control breaking on the ice. Next thing you know he’s in the water.”
A Mitiamo General Store owner said the driver of the ute was in total shock when he arrived at the shop.
"He was quite taken aback and really did think he was gone," she said.
"I didn't know what to think when he wandered in off the street soaking wet."