MORE than $2.5 million from the Victorian Coalition Government’s recently announced $45 million roads repair and restore package has been allocated to repair damaged roads in South Gippsland, according to Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan.
In a statement issued last week, Mr Ryan said: “Increased rainfall over the past two years, following an extended period of drought, and the increased use of heavy vehicles on our road network, has seen a number of roads in South Gippsland begin to suffer and deteriorate.”
“In response, the government recently announced a $45 million roads repair and restore package, on top of recurrent funding, which began flowing into the region late last year for much needed repair works.”
A representative from Mr Ryan’s office and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Peter Hall recently met with representatives of the Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Leongatha, who raised a number of concerns over the condition of local roads.
Following the meeting, Mr Ryan asked VicRoads to investigate those concerns, namely the condition of the South Gippsland Highway, Bass Highway at Leongatha South, Tarwin Lower Road, Strzelecki Highway in Leongatha, Meeniyan-Mirboo North Road, Meeniyan-Promontory Road and Waratah Road.
Mr Ryan said VicRoads informed him they were aware of the problems and had either completed the repair works during January and early February or were in the process of carrying out those repair works.
“Significant repair and resealing works have been carried out on damaged sections of the South Gippsland Highway. Pavement strengthening works to repair the Bass Highway were completed on 9 January, with asphalt patching works on Tarwin Lower Road completed in late-January “ Mr Ryan said.
“Asphalt patching works on Waratah Road were completed on 22 January, with pavement strengthening works on the Meeniyan-Promontory Road completed in mid-January.
“A pavement failure on the Strzelecki Highway in Leongatha was highlighted at the meeting, however subsequent investigation has revealed it was caused by a leaking water main which South Gippsland Water are currently repairing.
“The failed area on Meeniyan-Mirboo North Road has warning signs in place and VicRoads is currently in the process of engaging contractors to repair the damage.”
Mr Ryan also raised community concerns with VicRoads about the use of traffic cones on Waratah Road, including a number of traffic cones which had been placed in a pothole in the middle of the road surface.
“VicRoads has confirmed to me that they did not, and would not, use traffic cones on the road to warn of a pothole and were not responsible for placing the cones inside the potholes on Waratah Road,” Mr Ryan said.
“I would remind members of the public that traffic cones should not be tampered with or moved by anyone other than authorised VicRoads officers or police.”
Mr Hall said the government had listened to the concerns of the South Gippsland community on this issue and significant resources had been put towards addressing the road maintenance problems, including more than $ 2 million allocated for repairs in South Gippsland during the 2012-13 financial year from VicRoads recurrent funding.
“This includes $1.3 million for periodic maintenance, including preparation, patching and resurfacing, $574,000 for rehabilitation works and $204,000 for routine maintenance,” Mr Hall said.
“On 9 October 2012 the Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, announced the $45 million roads repair and restore package, which has already provided VicRoads with an additional $1.18 million for periodic maintenance and $1.35 million for rehabilitation and stabilisation works in South Gippsland.”
Mr Hall said repairing and maintaining Victoria’s regional and rural road network remains a priority for the government.