Safety assessment at Kialla crossing

By Tara Whitsed

Regional Roads Victoria has conducted a safety assessment of Kialla West Primary School’s crossing on Goulburn Valley Hwy following a collision at the site last week.

Victorian Roads Minister Luke Donnellan confirmed the VicRoads body, which was established in April and is dedicated to improving safety on regional roads, began investigating after the collision and attended the school this week.

‘‘Following this incident, Regional Roads Victoria conducted a safety assessment and is currently working with the primary school, Victoria Police Highway Patrol and (Greater Shepparton City) Council to immediately improve the safety of the school crossing, with planning also under way for other potential measures,’’ he said.

Kialla West Primary School’s school council president Jamie Gilbert said the safety assessment was welcomed and they were appreciative of the time Regional Roads Victoria, the council and the highway patrol put into the meeting.

‘‘The ideal outcome, from the school’s point of view, is to either have an overpass or an underpass to completely remove traffic hazards for the children,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll be working with the relevant authorities to get the outcome we hope for.’’

Council’s infrastructure director Phil Hoare said a number of safety improvements were being considered and the council would continue to work closely with VicRoads to ensure the safety of residents.

Although the minister could not detail the immediate improvements that would be made, he said there was nothing more important than keeping children safe and the government would be doing all it could to make the section of road safer for students.

‘‘Last week’s accident was absolutely tragic and our thoughts are with the young girl and her family,’’ Mr Donnellan said.

The accident took place after 3.30pm at the school’s crossing when a truck driver failed to slow down and collided with the back of a vehicle carrying four occupants.

Two children, aged eight and 11, were taken to Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Health, while a six-year-old was flown to Melbourne with serious injuries.

The six-year-old remains at the Royal Children’s Hospital in a stable condition.

Another vehicle was caught up in the collision, but the sole occupant of the vehicle was not injured.

The incident prompted outcries for safety improvements that State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell in Victorian Parliament, raising the issue during an adjournment debate.

‘‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved in this terrible collision,’’ she said.

‘‘A school crossing such as the one outside Kialla West Primary School that crosses a major road like the Goulburn Valley Hwy heightens the danger for students, parents and drivers.’’.