By Jed Lanyon
The Seville East Traffic Safety Group presented their campaign to upgrade the Warburton Highway in Seville East to Yarra Ranges Council on Tuesday 14 May.
After hearing from Joel Supple, councillors voted unanimously in approval to write to the regional director of VicRoads, State Member for Evelyn Bridget Vallence, who was in attendance at the meeting to show her support, and to the Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford about the concerns of the Seville East residents.
Yarra Ranges Council will write to seek urgent action to have intersection treatments, consolidation of access to properties from Warburton Highway, and a speed limit reduction installed to the area.
Council considered that the safety of pedestrians and road users between Douthie Road and Peters Road to be a significant concern.
A 54-year-old Woori Yallock man lost his life in a three car collision on 4 April, and then on 15 April, a man fled the scene of a two car collision at the same area in question.
Mr Supple noted that there are five high schools that drop kids off along the stretch of road as well as regular public buses.
“Not only is it unsafe for our drivers, our children are crossing this section of road every day,” he said.
“We are aware that the Warburton Highway is a state road and it would fall under state government funding.
“But today we ask of you, our local council, to support us and help us put pressure on the Labor Minister for Roads Ms Pulford and VicRoads to act now,” Mr Supple said.
He said that he went through the same process five years ago of presenting his case to council only for VicRoads to reject his requests.
“I have approached VicRoads previously and was told, ‘they will not fix the road until death occurred’.”
“We are asking for turning islands on the following roads, Douthie, Joyce, Sunnyside, Stewart, Peters Roads and Old Warburton Highway as well as a pedestrian bridge or pedestrian island for crossing, footpaths and safety barriers,” Mr Supple said.
Mr Supple said that decreasing the speed limit by 10km/h would be a ‘band aid’ solution as evidence showed that most incidents occurred in excess of the current legal speed limit.
Mayor of Yarra Ranges Council Tony Stevenson along with other councillors voiced their support to see action taken on the highway.
“If you’re heading east towards Warburton, between the two key roads I have counted at least nine possible right-hand turns,” he said.
“In each of those cases, people sit in the middle of the road with their indicator on, not in a designated turning lane.
Cr Stevenson highlighted that the highway runs east-west and that the rising sun in the morning and setting sun in the evening would factor into any hazard.
“We have a staff member whose wife has been rear-ended on this road three times while turning right in eight years.
“The last time, her car was written off and she spent two days in hospital… That’s pretty terrible, but it could have been much worse,” Cr Stevenson said.
Ms Vallence continued to voice her support for change along the Warburton Highway.
“The community is rightly concerned about this dangerous stretch of road. The council joining our campaign as another voice is very welcome,” she said.
“It is simply unacceptable that the Minister for Roads still ignores the Seville East community.
“Mr Supple, the team of local residents, and the CFA are doing a terrific job and I will keep fighting for them until we get action,” Ms Vallence said.
Like the Seville East Traffic Safety Group on Facebook for more information on their campaign.