The dangerous and dilapidated Princes Highway urgently needs upgrades, prominent south-west business owners say.
The Princes Highway West Alliance, made up of councils from across the region, are lobbying to improve the quality and safety of the major connection between Colac and the South Australian border.
In a series of videos on its Facebook page representatives from some of the region’s biggest companies and industries speak about the impact the poor state of the road has on businesses.
Graham Ryan from Ryans Transport said each day his company had about 20 to 30 trucks on the highway between Warrnambool, Melbourne and Mount Gambier.
“The roads are terrible, they’re falling apart,” he said.
“There’s nothing left of them. They’re rough on the trucks, they’re hard on equipment, they’re not safe. In the meantime our government seems to be able to avoid safety with a 40 kilometre an hour sign. If it was my business and I had potholes in my yard, WorkSafe would close us down. We would not be able to operate with conditions like that. Yet the government seem to be able to put up a 40 km sign and get away with it.”
Port Fairy Bamstone director Michael Steel, who transports his bluestone product via the Princes Highway West to the world, said the region deserved better.
He said the south-west had waited long enough for road improvements.
“We’re trying to deliver a first-class product and it has to arrive presentable, in one piece, unbroken,” he said.
“There are times where we have to load a transport lighter because we’re actually not putting pallets on the rear of a truck because we know they are going to bounce around too much because of the road situation. In winter we get the pot holes, in summer we get the soft spots and big chunks – they can be a foot high on the side of the road.
“You can be airborne if you’re not watching where you are going.”
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