Euroa MP and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has issued a stern warning to the Andrews Government that a review of the placement of wire rope barrier on the Hume Fwy is needed ahead of this year’s fire season.
The call comes after fires were started on the freeway at Clonbinane earlier this month when a caravan’s tyre exploded.
Speaking in Parliament this week, Ms Ryan said was concerned about the delays faced by emergency services when attempting to respond to incidents, such as the recent fire, on the freeway.
“Local brigades tell me they have to call police immediately for traffic control when attending incidents on the Hume,” Ms Ryan said.
“Accidents or fires are leading to a massive bank up of traffic which can’t pull far enough off the road to let emergency responders get through quickly.
“CFA brigades within the Euroa group have also put in place a policy of calling for immediate air support when a fire starts near the Hume because they are worried fires will get away before they can reach them because of the wire rope barriers.”
Ms Ryan said she dreaded what would happen if people got trapped on the freeway during a fire.
“A section of the Hume Fwy was closed in both directions for almost two hours earlier this month, with traffic banked up for kilometres,” Ms Ryan said.
“There was a caravan which had a tyre that exploded as it was travelling along the freeway, sparking grassfires along the medium strip.
“One driver who saw the fire start told 3AW that because of the placement of wire rope barriers in the area the driver could not immediately pull over. As a result, he drove another 1.5 kilometres while the tyre slowly disintegrated.
“Worse still, the response of CFA volunteers turning out to the fire was delayed because of the traffic and how narrow access was between the barriers and the vehicles.
Ms Ryan said the Andrews Government needed to review the placement of the barriers, or it risked putting the lives of motorists in danger during a fire.
“I cannot be more clear about this: the government needs to fix this problem,” Ms Ryan said.