SAFETY FIRST: Susan Hand, Denis Naphtine and Ryan Smith meet at the Koroit school crossing to discuss safety concerns. Picture: Rachael Houlihan
OPPOSITION spokesman Ryan Smith has used a visit to the south-west to urge the state government to fix the region’s roads.
Mr Smith met member for South-West Coast MP Dr Denis Naphthineat Koroit on Tuesday morning and called on the state government to fund flashing school zone signs on Commercial Road.
Almost a year ago Koroit studentSamuel Sutcliffe met Dr Napthineafter collecting more than 500 signatures calling for the signs because of concerns about the safety of Koroit Primary School pupils and the crossing supervisor.
The campaign was taken up as an election promise by DrNapthine, who committed $25,000 to install the lights, priorto his 2014 election loss.
Dr Napthine said he had brought Mr Smith down to re-emphasise the need for lights in the school speed zone.
“It puts the children at risk,” he said.
“It is absolutely essential to improve safety.”
Samuel has launched another petition on Go Petition and has collected 61 signatures so far.
School crossing supervisor Susan Hand told The Standard in 2014she had witnessed some near-misses at the crossing.
“We have a lot of visitors and it’s not immediately obvious that it’s a school zone,” she said.“There’s a lot of trucks that come through.”
Later Mr Smithtravelled arterial roads including the Heywood-Woolsthorpe Road, Condah Hotspur Road, Myamyn-Macarthur Road, Porltand-Nelson Road, Princes Highway, Hopkins Highway and Henty Highway.
The visit concluded with a visit to the Port of Portland to discuss road management issues dueto growing freight exports.
“It is clear to see that there is a significant amount of heavy vehicle movements, delivering dairy, agriculture, forestry and mineral sands across south-west Victoria, keeping this busy economy moving,” Mr Smith said.
“It is vital that the region has good roads to ensure this productivity can continue to grow.”
He urged the government to inspect the Myamyn-Macarthur Road to see why it is considered the south-west’s worst road.
“The pavement is less than four metres wide in some parts, pot holes line the stretch and the shoulders are severely worn away,” he said.
“The condition of thisroad is a disgrace and it is a miracle that there has not been a serious accident or injury on the stretch which is used daily by hundreds of vehicles, includingthe local school bus, heavy trucks, tourist traffic and residents.”
Dr Napthine said it was a “disgrace” that the government had slashed the Country Roads and Bridges program and cut funding for road asset by 22 per cent statewide.
“The south-west deserves better,” Dr Napthine said.
“It is time thecity-centric stategovernment got out on the road and realised that this funding must be spent as a matter of urgency.”
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