The Victorian Government has expanded the Incident Response Service (IRS) to clear busy arterial roads in Melbourne.
Following the addition of 12 new Officers and six new special purpose vans, the IRS will now patrol an expanded area of metropolitan freeways and arterial roads, clearing incidents more quickly, and keeping traffic moving.
These Officers have been deployed in key hotspots in the western, eastern and south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, where newly installed technology is helping dedicated engineers identify congestion and incidents.
The new special purpose vans have specialist fit-outs including a rear-mounted electronic message board, fuel for emergency top-ups, traffic management equipment and shunt bars to nudge breakdowns off the road.
Since their introduction, the average number of incidents responded to by the IRS on arterial roads in the west, east and southeast has increased dramatically, from 20 incidents per month to 55 incidents per month (per officer).
With restrictions easing and people returning to work and social activities across the city, road patronage has returned to 92 per cent of pre-COVID levels according to the State Government.
“With more eyes on the road and more boots on the ground, we’re making sure Melbourne’s busiest roads are also our safest and most reliable,” said Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll.
“Our Incident Response Service is there to lend a hand when you need them most. With specialist training and equipment, they’re able to clear disruptions quickly and get you moving again.”
As restrictions eased late last year, traffic volumes returned to higher than pre-COVID levels on some arterial roads.
The new team is considered key to identifying and clearing incidents and keeping traffic flowing across metropolitan suburbs.
The bolstered IRS is part of the Labor Government’s $340 million Smarter Roads package that includes more than 700 new CCTV cameras, 42 new permanent electronic message signs, 75 new dynamic pedestrian crossings, and the largest review of traffic lights in Melbourne’s history.
Fourteen traffic signal engineer cadets have reportedly completed early their two-year training program.