Plea for Diggers Rest-Bulla Road upgrade

A car gives way to traffic at the one-lane bridge over Jackson's Creek. Picture: Google Street View

Residents have echoed calls for a major upgrade of the road between Diggers Rest and Bulla, including the duplication of a dangerous, one-way bridge across Jacksons Creek.

Diggers Rest Residents Association president Bob Rau said rapid residential growth in the area had led to a massive increase in traffic over the past 15 years.

‘‘There’s also a large number of motorists from Gisborne using that road, too,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s pretty much the only way through to the airport from west or north of Diggers Rest.’’ Mr Rau said the narrow Holden Bridge, which is only wide enough for one-way traffic, was a ‘‘very serious’’ choke point crossing Jacksons Creek.

‘‘You have a give-way on the western side, but people coming down the hill [from the east] are frequently faced with others not abiding by the sign. We have observed a tremendous amount of demonstrated frustration, with fingers and fists flying out the windows.’’

Mr Rau said bridge railings were also damaged by heavy traffic at least 10 times a year.

‘‘With the narrow pavement, which is deteriorating, increased traffic, the choke point of the bridge and the fact you’ve also got to keep your eye out for kangaroos at night … it’s a critical situation,’’ Mr Rau said.

In Parliament last week, upper house Liberal MP Bernie Finn urged the state government to fund upgrades of the road and Holden Bridge.

‘‘A road that is not much better than a goat track is being used by huge numbers of cars on a daily basis,’’ Mr Finn said. ‘‘We have quite often huge numbers of cars awaiting huge numbers of other cars across the other side of the bridge. It is something that has been fair dinkum driving the locals nuts for a very long time.’’

Nine crashes in five years

VicRoads acting regional director Bryan Sherritt said nine crashes had been recorded on the road in the five years to last December 31, one resulting in serious injury. Two of the crashes involved motorcycles.

A government spokesman said the road was a matter for its manager, Hume council.

Hume city infrastructure director Peter Waite said the council had received $930,000 under the federal black spot program. Works, including the construction of road shoulders and roadside barriers, will take place between March and June.

“Council will investigate the feasibility of a new two-lane bridge,’’ Mr Waite said.

“If the investigation shows that a new bridge is feasible, council can then seek state or federal government grants to fund the works.’’