WARRANDYTE could have a second Yarra River crossing before the end of the year with VicRoads to review the town’s ability to cope in a worst-case scenario bushfire emergency.
Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith last week announced VicRoads would work with Emergency Management Victoria to create a traffic management model as party of a multi-agency review – including Victoria Police, the CFA, Melbourne Water and local councils – with a particular focus on Warrandyte Bridge with considerations to widen it, as well as looking at improving water accessibility for fire brigades.
In February a fire destroyed three Warrandyte homes giving locals a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the environment we live in. The bridge has always been a concern given it is the only route for locals who live north of the Yarra requiring a southern evacuation.
“Two Disaster Plan (Displan) boxes will be installed at both sides of Warrandyte Bridge, containing equipment needed to assist with traffic management during emergencies,” Mr Smith said.
“Our No.1 concern during an emergency is the safe evacuation of people, and these simple solutions will greatly assist Victoria Police and other emergency response teams manage an evacuation.
“The boxes will contain two-sided multi message signs and 40 ‘witches hats’ which could be used to provide drivers with advance notice to prepare for changed traffic conditions.
“The peak danger period for bushfires in the Warrandyte area is nearly upon us, so these measures are not only welcome but also a timely reminder to people in the Warrandyte area to be prepared.
In addition to the Displan boxes, new folding traffic management signs on both sides of Warrandyte Bridge will be installed and road diversion plans for the broader region were being reviewed and finalised.
“I’ve been speaking with VicRoads staff and the aim is to have all of these measures finalised and implemented by the end of the year.”
Residents are reminded of the importance of having a solid fire plan throughout summer. Visit http://warrandyte.org.au/fire/ for news, suggestions and more information on how you can be better prepared.