The reason road shoulders adjacent to roadside barriers between Stratford and Sale and Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance are at four metres, but only three metres between Stratford and Bairnsdale, is due to “environmentally sensitive vegetation” that exists on the middle stretch of Highway.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, asked the Minister for Roads why the shoulders were narrower on that middle stretch of road, despite much of this section (over 25 kilometres) being open grass adjacent to farmland.
In response, the Minister stated:
“Every effort has been made to provide a wide shoulder on the Princes Highway East between Stratford and Bairnsdale. However, unlike the section between Sale and Stratford, the section between Stratford and Bairnsdale that does not contain trees, contains extensive communities of environmentally sensitive vegetation.
“A detailed environmental assessment....was completed. This assessment concluded that the impact to environmentally sensitive vegetation was significant if the barrier was installed at four metres.”
“I asked this question as it has been raised with me by numerous local residents, including trucking and bus companies, who struggle to get their vehicles off the road carriageway if they break down, due to it being not wide enough,” Mr Bull said.
“I can understand this applying in the heavily treed areas, but I will now seek more detail on just what this ‘environmentally sensitive’ vegetation is that exists between Stratford and Bairnsdale, that is not present on the other side of Stratford or the other side of Bairnsdale, where the road shoulder is four metres.”
PICTURED: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, inspects the road shoulder on the Princes Highway between Stratford and Bairnsdale, which the Roads Minister says is only three metres wide because of the presence of environmentally sensitive vegetation.