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Thursday, 28 September, 2017

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■ Riders at risk at every turn as freeway works roll on...

Roughed up By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Todd Curtis above M1 roadworks in Narre Warren. 173206 lems,” Mr Curtis said. “It seems that issues that are raised by car drivers (such as potholes) are attended to reasonably quickly, but those that were raised by myself are still outstanding.” In desperation, Mr Curtis put up a

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public post on the Netrider web forum in April to alert other riders to the dangers. A rider responded about the “horrible” surface. He was “tracking all over the joint” and slipping on “massive steel cover plates” that weren’t

preceded by any warning signs. “They make us pariahs with one hand and then give us roads designed to kill us.” Another complained of his bike being guided into construction barriers by the road’s uneven grading.

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Motorcyclists are up in arms over rough surfaces, potholes and hazardous conditions on the M1 freeway during the ongoing upgrade project. Berwick rider Todd Curtis said the litany of hazards on the road caused different degrees of shuddering and tracking while driving his car. For motorcyclists, the dangers were much heightened. Long gouges in the road that were parallel and divots as wide as a motorcycle’s front tyre could “grab” at a bike’s tyres and re-direct the bike. There are also sections of “tar islands”, uneven levels between lanes and extreme differences between old and new surfaces. Mr Curtis also noted non-textured steel cover plates that were slippery in the wet, as well as potholes. The worst issues were outbound near the Josephine Avenue overpass, Mr Curtis said. It caused cars moving lanes to avoid the worst sections. At worst, riders would have to veer from cars dodging the areas. Mr Curtis had been “palmed off” between VicRoads and project subcontractors Fulton Hogan since he raised a litany of safety issues between Hallam and Pakenham early this year. Despite being assured that a safety team inspected the length of the freeway each day, the issues have remained largely unfixed. “There are a number of items that have been attended to but the number of issues being created by the ongoing work are causing more and more prob-

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Since then, Mr Curtis and the Victorian Motorcycle Council had a receptive meeting with VicRoads and the project’s contractor in July - which led to more ‘Rough Surface’ warning signage being installed. A maintenance plan was also created to fix the identified issues. A new asphalt surface is expected to start being installed before the end of 2017. This week, some of the problem sections had been freshly sealed. “There was great surprise about some of the issues raised,” Mr Curtis said. “They assured us that they would look into them, promises were made and to this day none have been actioned.” Victorian Motorcylcle Council’s Rob Salvatore said the conditions were potentially dangerous for inexperienced and unsuspecting riders. The meeting was positive, and follow-up action had been implemented, he said. VicRoads south-eastern projects director Ray Peterson said the top layer of asphalt had been removed in widened sections. It was done to allow traffic to travel closer to the freeway’s permanent concrete barriers. “We have worked with the Victorian Motorcycle Council to install signage and inform all road users of works happening on the Monash. “We encourage everyone to ride or drive to the conditions and obey road signs.” The freeway upgrade project, which widens the freeway both ways between EastLink and Clyde Road, started in September 2016. It is expected to be completed in 2018.

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News - Berwick - 28th September 2017