By Rowan Forster and Kyra Gillespie
Bass MP Brian Paynter has doubled down on Labor’s commitment to duplicate the deadly Healesville-Kooweerup Road, promising to also scrap Bald Hill Road’s roundabout if a Guy State Government is elected.
The bustling intersection, which will soon skirt a new McDonald’s restaurant, has long drawn the ire of motorists.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Mr Paynter said.
“I fear for my safety as I move through that intersection.
“The problems will continue north of the freeway at the Bald Hill Road roundabout, and at the level crossing.
“We’re committed to removing the roundabout because the current infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the population growth.”
Mr Paynter revealed he would also pursue the possibility of renaming the thoroughfare Pakenham-Kooweerup Road.
“It’s time for a name change,” he said.
“It turns into a t-section at the Princess Highway and it is far more related to Pakenham than to Healesville.”
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan was quick to blast Mr Paynter’s appearance on the front page of the Gazette during his visit to Pakenham on Friday.
“It’s hardly been mentioned by Brian Paynter in state parliament; I’ve never received a letter in relation to Healesville-Kooweerup Road and to be blunt his leader hasn’t committed to doing this road so I don’t know how a local MP can say he’s delivered it,” he said.
“We have actually made a commitment to upgrade the road so I find it rather amusing when people take credit for something they’ve had nothing to do with.”
Alongside the duplication of the road from two to four lanes between Princes Freeway and Manks Road, Mr Donnellan also promised safety barriers along the road, a new bridge over Deep Creek and new walking and cycling paths.
When the Gazette asked about the Bald Hill Road roundabout, there were no concrete answers.
However, motorists were assured there will be minimal disruptions to their commute when the upgrades are underway.
“We will have to reduce the speed at times which will create some level of frustration for commuters but the safety of road workers and road users will be put first,” Mr Donnellan said. “This is a major link road and anything like a full closure won’t happen.
“We will be able to confirm how long it will take towards the end of the year.
“It’s very much about doing all these projects in a timely, sensible way.”
According to Healesville-Kooweerup Road crash data, 21,000 vehicles travel along it every day, including 4200 trucks.
In the last five years, there have been 35 collisions on the notorious arterial.