A VICTORIAN MP has called on the state government to halt the rollout of wire rope barriers until an investigation into the cause of a fatal crash on the Calder Freeway has been completed.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan alleges the barriers were incorrectly installed on the stretch of highway in Keilor, with a W-beam in front of the wire barrier.
The car hit the wire rope barrier at 7pm on January 31 and the driver – the only occupant of the car – was killed.
Ms Ryan claims the car left the road to the right and slid along the rope barrier, into the end of the rail barrier which was overlapping. She raised the concerns in parliament on Tuesday.
Ms Ryan said the information – which was “passed on” to her – required urgent attention.
“I am urging the Premier and the roads minister to half the rollout until these concerns and last week’s awful accident can be investigated by authorities,” she said.
“This is a serious and alarming allegation which warrants an immediate and thorough investigation.
“These aren’t just my own concerns; they also come from emergency services workers, farmers and road transport industry workers, as well as motorists and motorbike riders.”
Police are yet to determine a cause of the crash and roads minister Luke Donnellan could not comment on the specific allegations.
He said it was disappointing that the fatal crash was being used as a political tool.
“The barriers that were installed last year have already been hit more than 300 times - that’s 300 potentially life-threatening crashes that have been avoided,” Mr Donnellan said.
“Steph Ryan continues to make shameful attempts to use these life-saving barriers to score grubby political points.
“Saving lives on country roads has always been an issue that’s more important than petty party politics - it’s a sad indictment that the Nationals and country Liberals no longer hold that view.”
He cited a study which claimed the wire rope barriers reduce head-on and run-off-road crashed by 85 per cent.
The rollout is required to comply with the manufacturer’s specifications, and a VicRoads surveillance officer is onsite at all times to ensure the barriers are installed correctly.
The officer ensures the barriers are installed at the correct height, and with correct overlaps.
The CFA has also expressed its support of the wire rope barriers in a position paper signed under the previous government.