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Dangerous road closed  

Credit:  Alexandra Weaver, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 16 July 2011 ~~

Extensive damage to the Macarthur-Penshurst Road has led Southern Grampians Shire’s Cr Marcus Rentsch to endorse a temporary closure.

The Penshurst resident said the road, which has been in heavy use since construction of the Macarthur wind farm ramped up earlier this year, was riddled with potholes and had inadequate shoulder sealing.

He argued it needed warning signs at either end and should not be open unless VicRoads could provide adequate maintenance.

“If they can’t keep up with the maintenance that is required to keep that road safely operating, then it should be closed,” Cr Rentsch said.

“It’s a huge development down there, the Macarthur wind farm, and there’s trucks just coming from everywhere.”

The former mayor drove the road last week while on his way to Hamilton for a meeting with south-west politicians Denis Napthine and Hugh Delahunty.

“I went through Macarthur and just couldn’t believe how dangerous that road was. It was just shocking in places,” Cr Rentsch said.

“On one section, it wasn’t far from Macarthur itself, the road just fell away.”

Penshurst resident Gordon McGlashan last week told The Standard he was concerned that trucks carting scoria from Penshurst to the Macarthur wind farm were degrading the surface of the local roads.

Fellow resident Keith Staff submitted questions on the matter that were answered at Wednesday night’s Southern Grampians Shire Council meeting.

Shire infrastructure director Kevin O’Brien told the meeting the council recently spent $1500 on maintenance along Cobb Street and was liaising with the Department of Planning and Community Development over whether it could be reimbursed for the work by Macarthur wind farm proponents AGL and Meridian Energy.

VicRoads south-west regional director Robin Miles said the authority was completing more inspections and maintenance on the Macarthur-Penshurst Road due to the spike in heavy traffic.

“VicRoads is developing guidelines for the wind farm industry, which will focus on access and traffic management for construction and site traffic,” he said.

“Proposals for treating the road are being developed and major patching work will be completed when the weather becomes warmer later this year.

“VicRoads reminds drivers to slow down and drive to road conditions for the safety of all road users.”

Cr Rentsch said he was pleased the council had agreed to form community consultative committees for major shire projects such as wind farms.

“We really have to get things organised, otherwise it puts a lot of angst into our community that we can do without,” he said.

Source:  Alexandra Weaver, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 16 July 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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