The impact of wire rope barriers on motorist safety during emergency events should be reviewed, according to Euroa MP and Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan.
Almost 150 vehicles were trapped in rising floodwater on the Hume Fwy between Wangaratta and Wodonga on Thursday.
Ms Ryan said local CFA brigades were already reporting delays caused by barriers when turning out to grassfires and accidents along the Hume Fwy.
“After yesterday’s flash floods, the government needs to act on community concern and review the effect of wire rope barriers,” Ms Ryan said.
“The hurried roll out of barriers along the Hume has raised a lot of questions and concerns from across the state with little to no response from the Andrews Government.
“There are concerns that the wire rope barriers impact on motorists’ ability to escape events such as fire and flood.
“While barriers have their place when used strategically, Labor’s blanket rollout along the Hume Fwy and the Midland Hwy has been rushed.
“Considerations such as access for emergency services or the ramifications in flood events like those of the last 24 hours haven’t been properly thought through.”
Ms Ryan said she was already receiving feedback from motorists who believed barriers stopped them from moving to safety during the flood event this week.
“Because of the barriers, motorists had nowhere to go,” Ms Ryan said.
“They did not have the option to cross the median strip to the south bound lane which sits on higher ground than the north bound lane and a number of people had to be winched out by helicopter to safety.
“Emergency service workers did an outstanding job ensuring nobody was hurt, however I have grave concerns that if this event had been a bushfire people would have been trapped with no escape.
“I urge the Andrews Labor Government to review wire rope barrier placement and look at implementing measures to ensure motorist safety is the number one priority in all situations.”