A PUSH by south-west councils for the Princes Highway west of Colac to have passing lanes all the way to the South Australian border has won support from the RACV and is being considered by VicRoads.
The Great South Coast group of municipalities has lobbied for the two-plus-one road design which has a continuous three-land cross section with alternating passing lanes.
Some European studies show the design has reduced crash fatalities by up to 90 per cent where wire rope medians separate oncoming traffic.
RACV roads and traffic manager David Jones said the design made driving easier and safer.
“For lower volume traffic roads the two-plus-one is good because it delivers significant safety benefits,” he said.
“But it still requires substantial infrastructure investment.”
VicRoads regional director William Tieppo said safety initiatives were being investigated for the highway between Colac and the South Australian border.
“As part of this investigation VicRoads is also considering the use of road safety initiatives that have proved to be successful overseas in reducing crashes,” he said.
Great South Coast chairman Cr Chris O’Connor said there seemed to be a good case for the design to be used on the highway west of Colac, but there was a lot of ignorance about the concept.
Last week Roads Minister Terry Mulder revealed Victorian road experts were looking at international examples to see if the idea was feasible for the south-west.
He said the government would not support the concept until there was more research.
Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine has previously opposed the idea.
Cr O’Connor pointed to Sweden where in the 1990s rural roads accounted for 25 per cent of severe injury crashes.
However, research showed that after introduction of the two-plus-one design with a cable barrier down the centre line on more than 1900 kilometres of roads there had been a 90 per cent reduction in fatalities.
Finland and Germany use the road design with the two directions of travel separated only by pavement markings.
Mr Jones said the RACV considered wire rope barriers separating traffic an essential component in reducing road trauma.
“It allows a bit more room for error,” Mr Jones said.
“As for motorcyclists saying wire rope barriers are like cheese cutters, we see no evidence of that.
“We think there is more injury risk from impact with the posts and we support moves to put padding around them.”