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Police fear road fatality with combination of speeding driver and surface ‘eruptions’

Police fear a deadly combination of speed and huge potholes will lead to another road fatality near the crash site which claimed six lives last month.

Hamilton police highway patrol unit officer in charge, Sergeant Scott Williams, said half-a-dozen motorists had been caught speeding in the Hamilton-Chatsworth Road area, north of Penshurst, during the past week.

Police officers have also reported that some sections of the road looked like they had “erupted”.

Sergeant Williams said that according to his officers, it was appropriate to drive at 40km/h along some sections of the road.

He said it was therefore surprising that police had issued about six speeding infringement notices during the past week.

On November 12 there were six people killed as a result of an accident at the intersection of the Hamilton-Chatsworth and Blackwood-Dunkeld roads.

Five young Warrnambool and district people travelling to the Dunkeld races and a Terang truck driver died.

The main problem area is west of the crash site and there are understood to have been a number of telephone calls from drivers to the Southern Grampians Shire about the potholes.

Locals are blaming trucks and other heavy vehicles travelling to the nearby wind farm for the damage to the road surface, which brings VicRoads in to the equation.

“One of the guys said you could not do more than 40km/h along that road or you risked taking out your undercarriage,” Sergeant Williams said.

“Recently we’ve charged a number of people with speeding. We’ve picked up cars and trucks speeding. We’ve been trying to pull them back into line in the last few days,” he said.

Newly re-elected Shire of Southern Grampians mayor Bob Penny said he had driven the Hamilton-Chatsworth Road in the past couple of weeks.

He said part of that road had been reduced to an 80km/h zone because of damage to the road surface, which may have been in part caused by trucks carrying scoria to the wind farm.

“I drove along there a couple of weeks ago and the bitumen is breaking up … crumbling. At that time there were council staff in the process of repairing the damage,” he said.

“The situation is being monitored by council and work teams are out there doing what they can.

“Hopefully part of our extra $1 million in road funding, that has been allocated to all councils, can be spent along the Chatsworth Road,” he said.