If riders needed another reason to reject wire rope barriers, it could be the fact that VicRoads has diverted road repair funds to fixing damaged barriers.
Riders have long been divided on whether WRBs are dangerous or not.
Thousands of riders have signed a petition to halt the rollout in Victoria.
The petition was launched last year by Liberal MP Richard Riordan (Polwarth) at the request of widow Jan White. Her husband , Phil, was killed when his Harley hit a kangaroo on the Calder Highway in November 2017. He was thrown from his bike and hit the WRBs, knocking down four posts.
CLICK HERE if you want to the sign the anti-WRB petition. (You don’t have to live in Victoria to sign the petition. Anyone who rides in Victoria can sign.)
Now Richard has exposed that VicRoads diverted taxpayer funds from country road repairs to fix damaged wire rope barriers.
Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria spokesman Damien Codognotto says that as well as safety concerns, wire rope barriers come at a high maintenance cost.
“Wire rope barriers have a shorter working life and are much more easily damaged than w-beam steel or concrete barriers,” he says.
“VicRoads has publicly admitted that more than 3000 repairs had to be done on wire rope barrier in a year.
“Each repair requires a truck, special tools spare parts and a trained crew of at least two. It has to be the most expensive barrier type ever used in Victoria.
“VicRoads and TAC believed their own hype and spent $ billions on wire rope barrier. They did not budget for the repair costs.”
He says the result is that money was “quietly diverted” from fixing rural roads and keeping them in safe condition to cover their “financial/safety blunder”.
Meanwhile, the State Government has only budgeted $425 million allocated to fixing rural roads this financial year and there is now talk of reducing the country speed limit to 80km/h.
Damien says safety concerns about wire rope barriers were vindicated by a crash last week on the Monash Freeway where a small SUV flatted the barriers and hit a concrete bridge.
“The wire rope barrier was placed specifically placed to stop cars hitting the bridge,” he says.
“It failed. Four people went to hospital. One critical. The car was destroyed. The freeway was closed during the morning traffic peak period.
“How much did all that cost?
“Time and again the media records wire rope barrier not performing as promoted by VicRoads and TAC. People are getting hurt and killed.”
He says barrier crashes such as on the Monash Freeway, are generally not recorded in VicPol accident reports.