By Jade Lawton
BUSHFIRE roadblocks have been overhauled to simplify traffic management during fires – a move that should help residents return home quicker.
Victoria Police has introduced new access wristbands, which will be given to residents so they can verify their need to return to the bushfire-affected area.
Business owners, managers and people involved in recovery activities within the area will also use the wristband.
Residents will need to prove they live in the area to get a wristband.
Senior Sergeant Trevor Teer of Pakenham police said the new system would make things easier for police and residents.
“In the past (traffic management points) have been very ad hoc and now it is clarified,” Sen Sgt Teer said.
“For example, people that work in the area couldn’t get through before, but now they will be allowed through at the same time as residents,” he said.
However, the wristband does not guarantee people entry through a roadblock.
During a bushfire, traffic management points will be graded from four possible levels, ranging from ‘no entry,’ which will only allow emergency services through, to ‘authorised access D’ which will allow employees and people bringing food and supplies.
Traffic management points graded ‘Restricted access B’ will only allow emergency services and safety assessment vehicles from the council and VicRoads.
Residents, business owners and accredited media will be allowed in to the area when traffic points are graded ‘Restricted access C.’
The new system has been introduced after the Bushfire Royal Commission recommended that Victoria Police review the management of roadblocks and traffic management points during bushfires.
By Jade Lawton