Vicroads’ proposed tree removal works on the Pyrenees Highway between Green Gully and Newstead have been put on hold pending advice from the Federal Department of the Environment [DEH] on the impact these removals might have on the health of migrating Swift Parrot populations.
Readers will remember that FOBIF has argued that removal of these trees, some of significant size, is both harmful for the amenity of the road and unnecessary for safety. We have argued that a reduction in speed limits and other measures would be a more effective policy, given that this is a winding stretch of road, probably unsuitable for significant speeds.
Vicroads’ response to this has been to point out that a car crashing into a tree at 80 is as fatal as a crash at 90 or 100—which seems to be ignoring that fact that the lower speed would most likely remove the probability of a crash in the first place. Vicroads’ Annual Report for 2016-7, noting a 15% increase in road fatalities in that year, points out that ‘The most common crash types were run-offroad on high-speed country roads and intersection crashes in metropolitan Melbourne.’ In spite of numerous TAC campaigns like ‘speed kills’, and ‘wipe off 5’, it seems to us that Vicroads is more concerned to improve traffic flow than to influence drivers to drive to conditions. In a weird way, Vicroads and the Transport Accident Commission seem to be at odds…
Vicroads will be holding more consultations in the local area before the works begin.