Roadwork speed limits under fire from Victorian premier

Tired of negotiating roadworks at a reduced speed, only to find no workers on site? So is Victoria’s new premier Daniel Andrews, who’s promising big changes to the law

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Newly elected Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews is currently on a roll, and his stocks certainly weren’t harmed after he vowed to penalise roadwork operators for leaving out reduced speed limit signs when there’s no work being carried out.

Days after being re-elected to Victoria’s top job, Andrews (pictured below) posted on his Facebook page that his government will impose penalties on companies that fail to restore normal speed limits when appropriate when no work is being done such during weekends.

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“I know how frustrating it is to slow right down for roadworks only to drive past an empty work site. So we're making a new rule,” the Premier posted.

“When tools go down, speeds come back up – when it’s safe to do so.

“It'll be safer for workers, too. No more chancing it because a site 'looks quiet'.

“And we'll write it in to every contract, with penalties to make sure it happens.”

Victoria is in the midst of an infrastructure frenzy, and Premier Andrews apologised to drivers.

“We're upgrading road and rail across the state, so there will be disruption – I won't pretend otherwise. But hopefully this will help a little bit,” he said.

Going by the more than 3000 mostly positive comments to the post, the words are music to the ears of long-suffering Victorian drivers whose commutes are becoming increasingly more tedious due to large-scale infrastructure projects.

While some of the work does involve road and lane closures that warrant ongoing speed reductions, it’s not uncommon to have to slow down to 40km/h on an unobstructed freeway for work that’s not being done at all.

Driver frustration hasn’t been lost on Victoria’s peak motorist body the RACV, which has been campaigning for better rules surrounding temporary speed signs. Earlier this year it invited motorists to report roadwork or construction speed limits when there were no workers on site.

It’s hoped the new laws will come into effect when the new Victorian Parliament sits in February 2019.

In the meantime, it’s worth remembering that roadwork speed limits are enforceable, even when there is no work going in. Speed cameras are adjusted to the lower limits, too, resulting in drivers facing heavy fines, demerit points and licence suspension for travelling at the normal speed limit even when it’s safe to do so.

And, as the RACV points out, even if there is an ‘end roadworks’ sign, you must continue at the lower speed until you pass another speed sign.


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