Congestion on the Western Freeway is contributing to more collisions and dangerous driving, according to local police.

Sergeant Chris Stuhldreier from Melton Highway Patrol said police had seen a number of “nose-to-tail” collisions during the morning and afternoon peaks in recent times.

And he said the problem was getting worse.

“It’s obviously building at a rapid rate,” he said. “Due to the growth in the area, the peak times in the morning and evening run for about two-and-a-half hours at each end of the day, so the congestion is getting worse.

“I suppose we’re not getting as many serious collisions because the speed is reduced … but certainly frustration levels are on the rise.

“We’re getting dangerous driving, with people using emergency lanes, weaving in and out of traffic and road rage stuff – it is concerning.

“With our roads becoming gridlocked due to the growth of the region, there’s no doubt we’d like to see more works done on our roads to help alleviate that congestion.”

Melton council has had a long-running campaign pushing both state and federal governments to provide upgrades to the Western Freeway, with an ongoing petition to local MPs and ministers collecting more than 3800 signatures.

“It’s called a freeway so it should be at freeway standard,” Sergeant Stuhldreier said. “We shouldn’t have these issues … I understand these things takes time, but I’m not even sure this road is on the radar. All those collisions along the road just shut things down more and are a drain on police resources.”

Sergeant Stuhldreier raised concerns about pedestrians trying to cross the freeway near Woodgrove Shopping Centre

“We’ve found that around the Melton Youth Centre at the junction of Barries Road and [the] freeway appears to be a common point where fences are cut down and people are crossing the freeway,” he said.

“That’s certainly dangerous and risky behaviour that we want to stop.

“VicRoads do repair the fences, but we’ve seen some close calls and we want to avoid any accidents before they happen.”

The Western Freeway petition can be viewed at catchup.org.au/melton