by Alex White, Kate Wilson and Jennifer Chiu
AN APOLLO BAY woman says the state of a major Otways road reduced her to tears and made her fear for her life.
Joyce Biddle has called on authorities to “step up” and do something to improve Forrest-Apollo Bay Road before it becomes “too unsafe to use”.
The RoadSafe Colac member said driving from Skenes Creek to Forrest on Forrest-Apollo Bay Road was “like skating on ice” during wet weather.
Ms Biddle said she counted 105 places on the 32-kilomtre stretch where water was streaming across the road, leaving gravel and water on the road during last week’s torrential downpour.
She said she also came across two trees over the road, including one which a Colac district waste company truck crashed into near Turtons Track during last Monday’s downpour.
Ms Biddle said she drove most of the trip at 40 kilometres an hour fearing that the road’s inability to cope with poor weather meant it was endangering motorists.
“This isn’t the first day of rain we’ve had, this isn’t the first time it’s rained on the road,” she said.
“I expect I’m going to have to endure some water but I do not expect to have to endure the amounts of water that were on that road that particular day.
“I feel completely unsafe every time I drive that road – I wait for a tree to fall over, I wait for someone to be killed in front of me and I thought the other day was that day.
“I was literally beside myself at Forrest, I was in tears.”
Ms Biddle said she was “fed up” with authorities ignoring the condition of the road, claiming she had “never driven in a worse set of circumstances in my life”.
She said the road had deteriorated and was dangerous even in the best of conditions, with overhanging trees, nowhere to pull over or overtake as well as slippery and narrow surfaces.
“I suggest that VicRoads and departmental people step up and do something,” Ms Biddle said.
RoadSafe Otway chairman Cliff McAliece said organising a bus trip with Polwarth MP and Roads Minister Terry Mulder, VicRoads staff and Otways residents could bring attention to the road’s trouble spots.
“Eighty per cent of the road is extremely narrow and there are no adequate passing lanes,” he said.
Mr Mulder said he was happy to raise complaints about the road with VicRoads, and he had previously asked the roads authority to investigate adding more passing lanes.
He urged motorists to drive carefully during winter.
“With overhanging trees, it stays moist right through so people need to be careful,” he said.