By Jed Lanyon
Marysville and Healesville community members gathered for a public meeting on Thursday 10 October regarding safety issues with the Black Spur as well as options for a potential alternate route.
Eildon MP Cindy McLeish spoke at the meeting and said she was happy to see a turnout of over one hundred people.
“People speak to me about the issues on the Black Spur all of the time,” she said.
“To see everybody in Marysville and surrounds come together so passionately to share their concerns and issues, it’s terrific.
“People love the Black Spur. They love the unique character of the spur and are very aware of any works being done and the need for that character to be maintained.”
Ms McLeish said that some of the items raised were the safety of pullover destinations and the need to seal those areas, as well as the impact of signage.
She hopes that the significant turnout sends a message to the state government to strengthen their campaign for upgrades in the region.
Residents had expressed their frustrations earlier in the week following the closure of the highway for emergency tree removal works by VicRoads on Tuesday 9 October.
A VicRoads department of transport spokesperson told the Mail, “We closed a section of Maroondah Highway for emergency works to remove a large tree which had fallen onto another tree.
“We thank drivers and the local community for their patience and understanding while we completed these important works.”
While VicRoads initially informed residents that the road would be closed from 7am to 7pm, they said that the Black Spur was re-opened at 2.45pm, hours earlier than anticipated.
Many residents found out about the closure via electronic variable message signs that were in place along the Maroondah Highway and surrounding roads.
Much of the delay was due to the heavy machinery that had to be brought in to help remove the trees.
But locals are set for more travel headaches as VicRoads announced that the Black Spur will close once again from 21-24 October 7am to 5pm after VicRoads identified a number of trees that need to be removed.
Murrindindi Shire Council informed residents that these works were originally scheduled to take place on 14-17 October, but had since been changed to provide more notice to those affected.
On 9 August, Angie Suryadi was killed after a tree struck her car while travelling along the Maroondah Highway in Fernshaw. Her three family members suffered significant injuries as a result of the incident.
Ms McLeish told the Mail that 12 trees have been identified for removal in the upcoming works.
“They will need to bring cranes in… We questioned whether they could get twice the gear in and do it quicker, but the trees are too close together,” Ms McLeish said.