By Brendan Rees
VicRoads will reduce the speed limit of a notorious section of South Gippsland Highway this weekend, after calls from the community to make the road safer.
The move follows a fatal car crash in which a teenager and her mother died on the South Gippsland Highway in August this year, after leaving parent-teacher interviews at the Cranbourne Lighthouse Christian College.
The speed limit will be reduced to 80km/h this Saturday 18 November, from Ballarto Road to Clyde-Fiveways Road.
VicRoads spokesperson Sasha Yarwood said community feedback had been “instrumental” in how people were using the highway and the challenges and risks they faced.
He said VicRoads consulted with the community, key stakeholders and experts in September and October to seek their views on improving road safety on a 4.5km stretch of the South Gippsland Highway in Cranbourne.
“We’ve listened to what the community has had to say about this stretch of road and we’re announcing a new permanent 80km/h speed limit and advisory signs alerting drivers to the school ahead.”
“Not only are we responding to a number of recent serious crashes but we’re also future-proofing this area, which is expected to continue seeing significant residential and commercial growth.”
Casey Mayor Geoff Ablett applauded VicRoads’ decision to drop the speed limit. “I’m really glad VicRoads’ review indicated what the local residents wanted and came up with the right result.”
“We believe this will go a long way to improve the safety of all drivers. We would like to remember Xinyu Yuan and her mother Ma Li Dai who lost their lives earlier this year and hope this action will help prevent further tragedy happening in the future.”
“I really want to thank Cr Sam Aziz and Sally Curtain, one of our officers who worked with VicRoads to make the review happen. We got a good result but unfortunately we can’t bring people back.”
“Hopefully we can save lives in the future.”
Cranbourne Lighthouse Christian College Cranbourne principal Jacob Mathews said the school was “absolutely delighted” by the speed reduction.
“Lighthouse is very thankful to all who have contributed to making our road frontage a much safer one for all.”
“We have together chosen to forego a minuscule saving in time for surer and safer travel for all.”
He thanked all those who advocated for the speed change.
“Again the media and our Casey Council have played a prominent part in helping us achieve this wonderful result. We will always feel the loss of Xinyu, but may this be the last of such loss in our region.”