Safety works never took place on Napier Street bridge

The November 7 incident. Supplied

Two accidents in less than a week have renewed pressure on the state government to take action on Footscray’s notorious Napier Street bridge.

The latest incident, about 3.30pm last Monday and following a similar incident on November 1, caused traffic chaos as a container was smashed off the back of a truck and toppled over the bicycle lane and pedestrian path.

Napier Street’s four-metre-high rail overpass has been struck almost 70 times since 2005.

Maribyrnong council has lobbied the government to improve safety and Footscray police have called for a ban on container trucks passing beneath the bridge and an increase to the $738 fine.

Roads Minister Luke Donnellan visited the site last June to announce a $600,000 safety upgrade, yet the works never took place.

A spokesman for Mr Donnellan said work would begin early next month to realign the protection beams on both sides of the bridge, and install new technology to warn drivers well before they reached the bridge.

“These works will help to reduce the risk of heavy vehicle collisions, which put the safety of pedestrians and roads users in danger,” he said.

VicRoads regional director Vince Punaro said new electronic technology which will detect overheight vehicles and advise the drivers of these vehicles to exit before the bridge will also be installed on approaches to Napier Street Bridge including on Shepherd Bridge.

The Maribyrnong Truck Action Group has slammed the 18-month delay to the work as a sign of the state government’s neglect of the western suburbs.

Maribyrnong mayor Catherine Cumming said neither VicRoads nor the state government was acting quickly enough to find a permanent solution.

She said the Westlink proposal, now mothballed, would have helped to take trucks off Napier Street by taking them beneath Footscray.