Riverina residents could see flexible, wire rope barriers rolled out on neighbouring highways despite growing opposition to their use in Victoria.
The Hume Highway could feature the wire rope barriers which would form part of the 300 kilometres in targeted safety works the NSW government will be implementing in an effort to prevent run-off-road and head-on crashes on regional roads.
In Victoria, however, these same wire barriers have created a range of issues, such as preventing access for emergency services such as the Country Fire Authority. According to the Independent Riders’ Group, they also pose a threat to all motorists on roads.
Damien Codognotto, spokesperson for the Independent Riders’ Group, has been pushing for the Victorian government to stop the rollout of wire rope barriers and urges NSW to reconsider.
“From day one, 20 years ago, there has been strong opposition but in recent months there has been a series of crashes, two of them fatal involving wire rope barriers,” he said.
“This has pushed individuals who were dormant for a while to strongly oppose.”
Victorian Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan has repeatedly defended the barriers, but other politicians are calling for a halt in the rollout.
The Liberals and Nationals promised to halt the statewide installation of wire rope barriers along the state’s most dangerous roads if it wins government this year.
Monash University Accident Research Centre investigated the barriers and results indicated the barriers are associated with significant reductions in the risk of both casualty and serious casualty crashes, of up to 87 per cent on an individual route.
When questioned on how the government would ensure regional highways in NSW will not face similar issues, a spokesperson from Roads and Maritime Services said these factors have been taken into consideration.
“The design of safety systems in NSW, including wire rope safety barrier systems, takes into account emergency service access while maintaining operational integrity of the barrier system” they said.
“Only systems which have been assessed and approved by Roads and Maritime Services are installed on the NSW classified road network.
“This applies to both permanent and temporary installations.”