Call for freeway pedestrian crossing

People are risking their lives by running across the Western Freeway between Brookfield and Woodgrove shopping centre because there are no safe crossing points nearby. Picture: Google Street View

A Brookfield resident says it’s only a matter of time before a pedestrian is killed on the Western Freeway.

Geoff, who didn’t want his surname used, moved into Park Edge Way estate, next to the Western Freeway, more than two years ago.

In that time, he’s seen dozens of people, mainly teenagers, attempt to dodge freeway traffic to get to Woodgrove shopping centre.

Last year, a 14-year-old boy was airlifted to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition after being hit by a car while trying to cross the highway.

The Western Highway was named one of Victoria’s deadliest stretches of road in 2012. The Australian Road Assessment Program research, carried out every five years, assessed traffic, death and serious injury statistics to map Australia’s riskiest roads.

Geoff is now calling on the state government and VicRoads to build a pedestrian overpass along the Woodgrove section of the highway.

“I’ve watched kids cross that road since the day we’ve moved in,” he told Star Weekly.

“An overpass would settle a lot of problems.”

He said the erection of noise barriers would also prevent people from using the nature strip to cross the freeway.

And it would help alleviate noise problems for estate residents.

“We can’t open the window,” he says. “We’ve had to put roller shutters in because the windows rattle [because of freeway noise]. We can’t sit outside, and it’s impossible to have a barbecue.”

“We were under the impression noise barriers would go up – it just looked like commonsense. There are some around the other estates.”

Fellow Brookfield resident and council candidate Ken Hardy said development levies collected by the council and the state government should have been spent on safety measures near Park Edge Way estate.

“It’s a simple allocation of resources,” Mr Hardy told Star Weekly.

“They get a lot of money and they can allocate. The last thing the community wants … is a death.”

Melton council planning services manager Bob Baggio said the $815,000 received in development levies goes toward infrastructure projects and upgrades to local roads.

“Council will advocate to VicRoads to alert them of our residents’ concerns,” Mr Baggio said.

“We will also ascertain what pedestrian movement options exist now, and into the future, abutting the Western Freeway.”