Regional Victorian speed zones will be overhauled under sweeping changes to Victoria's speed limit system, announced today by the Minister for Roads Terry Mulder.
One of the most significant changes for country Victoria will be the removal of 80 km/h buffer zones on the edge of most rural towns and cities.
Guidelines for where and when 40 km/h speed zones should be introduced will also be rolled out across the state.
A number of regional roads and streets which have confusing or conflicting speed zone changes will have their signing simplified.
Mr Mulder announced the shake-up today, following a wide-ranging review of the state's speed limit regime. The Speed Limit Advisory Group was involved in developing the recommendations.
The Speed Limit Advisory Group is made up of experts in road safety from VicRoads, Victoria Police, Department of Justice, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA), the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and Australian Road Research Board (ARRB).
The Victorian Speed Limit Review attracted more than 600 submissions from the community and identified numerous locations across Victoria where drivers were confused about the speed limit.
Mr Mulder said he was pleased to present the actions resulting from the Review, one year on from calling for submissions from the public.
The VicRoads review has identified that 80 km/h buffer zones should be replaced with "60 km/h Ahead" signs.
"These buffer zones were originally intended to help drivers gradually slow down from 100 km/h to 60 km/h as they approached a built-up area," Mr Mulder said.
"VicRoads believes drivers only need to be warned that they are approaching a 60 km/h zone, allowing them to slow down at their own pace."
However, 80 km/h zones will remain where there are driveways abutting the area between the 100 km/h and 60 km/h zones to ensure residents can safely enter and exit their properties.
Mr Mulder also unveiled an initial list of sites where speed limit changes would be introduced or rationalised, based on the first hand knowledge of local residents.
These include sections of roads in towns including Heyfield, Yallourn North, Morwell, Tyers, Wunghnu, Kialla, Porepunkah, Murchison, Rutherglen, Baddaginnie, Wallan, Bendigo, Alfredton, Haven, Irymple, Maddingley, Glenorchy, Winchelsea and Queenscliff.
Other locations will be added in coming months, however all of the changes in rural areas will include consultation with local council, police and public transport operators, before changes are made.
VicRoads Executive Director for Road Safety and Network Access, David Shelton said one of the priorities from the Victorian Speed Limit Review was the need to develop state-wide guidelines for 40 km/h pedestrian zones.
"Some metropolitan councils have implemented 40 km/h speed zones in certain areas, but we believe there needs to be uniform guidelines so that all municipalities have a framework to determine where and when these zones are appropriate," Mr Shelton said.
"Some areas have high levels of pedestrian activity but only at certain times of the day, for example, at school drop-off or pick-up times or at night in restaurant precincts."
"It may be appropriate to reduce the speed limit only at these peak times, so that road users are confident they are slowing down for the safety of pedestrians when necessary."
Among the other, longer term outcomes from the review, is the phasing out of many 90 km/h and 70 km/h signs so that drivers will be confronted with fewer changes.
"We will review each of the areas with 90 km/h or 70 km/h speed limits on a case-by-case basis. We recognise that at some locations, 70 km/h or 90 km/h is the appropriate speed limit, and for now, many 70 km/h and 90 km/h speed limits won't change," Mr Shelton said.
"The changes to speed limits represent a simpler system, and a balance between smoothing out travel speeds and the safety of all road users."
VicRoads visited all the locations identified in submissions and consulted a wide range of stakeholders, including local councils, Victoria Police and the Speed Limits Advisory Group before the outcomes were finalised.
For a detailed list of where and how changes to individual roads or streets will occur, view the interactive map at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/SpeedReview