VAGO report investigates flexible safety barrier rollout

The project to install wire rope barriers across the state, including on local roads, may not deliver its target benefits, is facing delays and a budget blow out, according to a Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) report.

Released last month, the report Safety on Victoria’s Roads — Regional Road Barriers investigated the Safe System Road Infrastructure Program (SSRIP) rollout and the effectiveness of the barriers.

A significant part of the Towards Zero Strategy, which aims to reduce the annual number of road deaths to 200 or less by the end of 2020, the flexible barriers aim to reduce fatalities and serious injuries from run off road and head on serious casualty crashes by up to 85 percent.

However, according to the report, VicRoads does not have strong evidence to support this statement.

The report found that while the barriers do save lives and reduce serious injuries on the state’s roads, a reduction of 56 percent is more likely.

The report also states that as of April 2020, VicRoads had completed 21 in the 27 projects Top 20 Program and installed 92 percent of the planned 3458 kilometres of safety infrastructure, including flexible barriers, wide centrelines and rumble strips.

The Top 20 Program refers to the the state’s 20 highest-risk rural roads with a speed limit of 100 km/h and with a daily traffic volume of 3000 vehicles or higher.

However according to the report, VicRoads aimed to complete the Top 20 Program by June 2020, it has scheduled the remaining projects for delivery by February 2021, which is eight months later than planned.

In terms of maintenance and repairs, the report found that unrepaired barriers are 34 percent less effective at reducing serious injuries and fatalities and that while VicRoads inspects its road safety infrastructure to identify any hazards and damage, its inspection processes vary significantly between its different regions.

For more on this story see Page 5 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, July 7

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