Road repairs and safety under threat as VicRoads scraps its Road Safety and Network Access division

BUDGET cuts have forced VicRoads to scrap its road safety division and ditch its long-held strategy for maintaining the state’s roads, even though the strategy was designed to avoid the need for major, expensive repairs.

It has slashed in half its road repaving commitments for the coming year, expecting to resurface just 3.2 per cent of Victoria’s roads. A previous strategy to resurface 7 per cent each year was explicitly designed to reduce repair costs.

VicRoads has also scrapped its Road Safety and Network Access division, as about 450 staff depart under the state government’s public servant redundancy program.

The division managed strategies for reducing road trauma and improving truck freight routes. Remaining road safety staff have been scattered across the organisation…

David Shelton, VicRoads’ road safety co-ordinator, said road safety work would not be diminished.

”Improving road safety and reducing the road toll remains a key priority for VicRoads,” Mr Shelton said.

According to VicRoads’ website, the strategy, called ”Stitch in Time”, has since 1993 ”ensured that regular and timely maintenance has been carried out to prevent roads deteriorating to the point where they require major work”…

”At a time when engineers are advising the need for greater investment in roads, we are seeing patching replace repairing, engineers being cut from VicRoads and budgets being constrained,” said Bede Payne, the Victorian director of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia, which represents VicRoads engineers. ”This kind of cost-cutting will cost Victorian taxpayers in the long run…”

Adam Carey, The Age, November 6, 2012

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