COLAC district’s main route to Geelong and Melbourne is among Victoria’s riskiest roads.
The latest Australia Road Assessment Program study shows the Princes Highway West, between the Western Ring Road and Colac, as medium-high to high risk based on traffic, death and serious injury statistics.
The study rated the 114-kilometre, Colac to Western Ring Road stretch as the fifth most dangerous in the state with 291 casualty crashes, 11 per cent of Victoria’s total, and 15 fatalities, 12 per cent, between 2005 and 2009.
Peak road user bodies, including the RACV, do the study every five years and released the latest statistics last week.
The assessment of more than 1725 kilometres of the state’s highways classifies the Princes Highway from Colac to Geelong as medium-high risk, while Geelong to the Western Ring Road is high risk.
The state and federal governments have funded the duplication of the highway between Waurn Ponds and Colac, work on which started between Waurn Ponds and Winchelsea in March last year.
Colac truck driver Jason Morley frequents the road and said prime movers and cars posed problems for each other because the road was too narrow.
“I don’t think the road is wide enough – if you’re following a car, every time something comes towards them they slow down and then speed up again,” Mr Morely said.
“Some of it is pretty bad the way it cambers off to the side – so when you’re carrying a heavy load you sway from side to side,” he said.
“I feel safe but I know other people don’t feel safe.”
Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the troublesome stretch of road had improved since 2009 with the completion of the Geelong Ring Road.
He said he expected the $220 million upgrade between Waurn Ponds and Winchelsea would be completed by 2014, while planning had started for the $515 duplication from Colac to Winchelsea.
“VicRoads has carried out road safety improvement works, including installation of safety barriers, at sites that have had a demonstrated crash history,” Mr Mulder said.
“VicRoads continues to monitor the operating safety of the Princes Highway and will make recommendations for improvements if required, ahead of the duplication works.” he said.