Woolsthorpe/Heywood Road at Bessiebelle in South West Victoria.
Woolsthorpe/Heywood Road at Bessiebelle in South West Victoria. Jodi Fry

'We need it fixed right now'

DO IT once and do it right.

That's the view of both truck driver Peter Shiells and resident Jodi Fry when it comes to the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road in regional Victoria.

Peter, who drives for his transport company Sheills Transport, was so fed up with having politicians make decision that affect him when they don't know what life is really like out on the regional roads that he invited his local member, Wannon MP Dan Tehan, to come along with him for a ride in the truck.

The number one thing he wants Mr Tehan to understand is the road conditions.

"I think we need to get roads to a standard. They are getting fixed, but you can't fix a road and then rip it up again two months later because it wasn't fixed properly in the first place,” he said.

"It's a broken record to be honest, we've heard it in how many elections? We're promised the world and you don't see a lot of those promises coming through.”

Especially on the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road.

Jodi Fry, who lives on the road, said it was in such a bad state that she started up a campaign many years ago to get it fixed.

While that campaign was successful in attracting $5.3 million dollars in funding in a 2014 state budget, Jodi said "next to nothing” had been achieved even though the then Premier Denis Napthine had said at the time the road was a "major link for a number of communities through south-west Victoria”.

"The damage (to the road) was so great that it was nowhere near enough,” Jodi said of the job done to fix it.

"After constant complaints they put in some limestone where the potholes were but only on a small portion of the road.

"But then since the rain, the substance they used to repair the road has turned to slush. It's down to a single lane in a lot of places and if you must move off the road to allow another car to pass, you can't get any grip on the side of the road.

"It was a temporary fix and it's not any better, if nothing else it's worse.”

FED UP: Local Resident Kevin Bourke shows how deep those pot holes are on the Woolsthorpe/Heywood Road at Bessiebelle in South West Victoria.
FED UP: Local Resident Kevin Bourke shows how deep those pot holes are on the Woolsthorpe/Heywood Road at Bessiebelle in South West Victoria. Jodi Fry

Jodi added that while the Yambuk Bridge was also being fixed, traffic over 42 tonnes was being diverted onto the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road.

"It's a B-double transport route and they're sending more traffic to the road than its unsuitable for.”

VicRoads said planning was being undertaken for a long-term upgrade for the narrow sections of the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Rd and it would be considered for future funding.

Regional Roads Victoria acting regional director (south west), Liam Butcher said: "We know how important Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road is to the community and industries that rely on it every day”.

"We're currently monitoring the road and completing short term repairs as part of our ongoing maintenance program, while we investigate and plan for a longer term upgrade,” he said.

Regional Victorians will have the opportunity to share and hear ideas on how to improve road safety in their area at a series of community forums to be held across the state in the coming months.

Eight road safety forums will be held in July, August and September, in Ballarat, Marysville, Shepparton, Sale, Geelong, Portland, Bendigo and Mildura.

The forums will be attended by road safety experts, local government and community leaders who will look at the reasons behind the disproportionate number of country road deaths and how to prevent this senseless loss of life.

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