South-west roads are not keeping pace with industry, a VicRoads community session in Warrnambool has heard.
VicRoads held the three-and-a-half hour drop-in session on Wednesday to hear concerns from the public and outline its own upgrade plans.
Warrnambool’s Bill Ermacora used the session to speak with officials about the deterioration of the Hopkins and Hamilton highways.
“When we first came here (to Warrnambool) 16 years ago it was quite good. There wasn’t many big trucks. Now it’s very busy,” he said.
“The tonnage of those large vehicles has increased.”
Mr Ermacora said he was concerned about the lack of maintenance roads were receiving and said the situation had got progressively worse.
Warrnambool City councillor Tony Herbert said it was time for the region to take a harder line with government.
“It’s about striving for something better all the time rather than just accepting what you get given,” he said.
“It might be time that we have to start banging on the table.” Cr Herbert said many roads were not built to cope with bigger trucks, and poor transport links were holding back growth.
“We transport so much to Melbourne, this region, especially with the dairy processing plants and it is quite insulting that so much of our freight has to get to the ports on single roads,” he said.
“With so much of our exports going out of Melbourne, they should at least provide us with something safe to put the product out.”
VicRoads regional director Mark Koliba said the session was part of a detailed engagement process across regional Victoria.
“We’re really focusing on country roads and the condition of country roads and what’s important to locals,” he said. “The good news is we are getting a lot more money now to repair and fix country roads. We’ve got to obviously make sure that we invest that money wisely and try and fix a lot of the issues that are really bugging people in the community.”
Mr Koliba said feedback would help prioritise upgrades. “This really does help capture feedback and see if it aligns with where we think some of the priorities are.
“We’ve got quite a few years of road reconstruction and repair and the key thing for us is trying to prioritise this work that’s going to happen over several years.”