More than 7 per cent of Victoria’s regional roads are in a “distressed” state, with successive governments’ underfunding of roads set to seriously compromise Victorians’ safety, the RACV says.
In its budget submission to the State Government, the RACV detailed its independent review of Victoria’s regional highway network, showing that Victoria’s roads are seriously underfunded and that the steep decline of the network’s condition is affecting road safety.
VicRoads data showed that in 2015-16, 7.4 per cent of regional Victoria’s 19,630-kilometre network – equating to 1452 kilometres of road – was "distressed". The current budget delivers only half the amount needed each year to properly maintain our roads.
Brian Negus, General Manager, Public Policy, said RACV has called on the State Government to make the safety of Victorian roads a priority, and to address them urgently with a clear financial commitment in next month’s budget.
“A lack of significant investment in the upcoming budget will mean that the state highway network becomes so degraded, it will inevitably cost more to repair or totally reconstruct in the future,” says Mr Negus. “An investment in our roads today is an investment in Victoria’s future.
“The RACV has repeatedly said that the failure over many years to invest in maintaining roads will seriously compromise safety for Victorians. The Government needs to understand that when Victorians can get from home to work and back safely, our entire economy benefits.”
Mr Negus says the completion of the North-East Link is also a high priority for RACV members and the community, and that building a freeway-standard link between the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink will eliminate six out of the top 10 RACV Redspots (areas with unnecessary or excessive congestion) identified by RACV members. The RACV welcomes the Government’s commitment, but wants to see a clear timetable and funding arrangements for the North-East Link.
“Our members have told us that congestion remains a major source of frustration and it is impacting people’s day-to-day lives,” says Mr Negus. “People want to spend less time in traffic and more time being where they want to go.”
RACV is also calling for:
- A clear funding commitment and timetable for the completion of the duplication of the Western Highway to Stawell, a critical link between Adelaide and Melbourne.
- A significant upgrade to Hoddle Street/Punt Road, between the Eastern Freeway and the Yarra River. Urgent implementation of 24/7 clearways and bus lanes on both sides of Hoddle Street to provide faster and more reliable bus services.
- Increased SmartBus services, including an upgrade to the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART).
- Funding for Point Cook Road between Princes Freeway and Dunnings Road in Seabrook, to address a recurring RACV Redspot.