A dangerous stretch of road south of Melbourne that has claimed three lives in recent years will be fast-tracked for an upgrade after pressure from the city’s Mornington Peninsula Leader.
The speed limit along Coolart Road was also lowered by 10km/h to 80km/h, in the wake of what government agency VicRoads said was a record community response to the paper’s coverage.
The 17-kilometre stretch had seen 32 crashes and three fatalities since January 2010.
Leader Community Newspapers editor-in-chief John Trevorrow said not all readers were on board with the newspaper’s push, but it was the publication’s responsibility to call for improvements.
“There’s probably close to an equal number of people who are in favour of the speed limit being reduced compared to those who didn’t want it reduced,” Mr Trevorrow said.
“This one was a pretty easy call – VicRoads had proposed bringing the speed down … and when you look at the facts, three people had died.
“Obviously, something needs to be done. You can’t do nothing when it’s killing people.”
Mr Trevorrow said VicRoads had told the newspaper that its reports had driven the community feedback that prompted its decision.
The Mornington Peninsula Leader found an ally in Victoria Police assistant commissioner Robert Hill, who said he had asked his family to avoid the road.
“When you look at this road, it is stark,” he told the paper. “This is a substandard road, with an inappropriate 90km/h speed setting.”
VicRoads said a new speed limit would be set in place imminently and work to repair, resurface and widen parts of the road would be finished within a year.
“Leader’s a good sounding board for authorities, whether it’s government, whether it’s local councils, to be able to hear what a large chunk of the population is saying,” Mr Trevorrow said.
“That’s why we get listened to.”