A Melbourne freeway sign may not have crushed a car had it not been for a “terrible oversight” of necessary safety checks, the government says.

Nella Lettieri escaped serious injury when the 4x5m sign fell onto her vehicle on the Tullamarine freeway, near Essendon Airport, during peak hour on January 8.

The 53-year-old was on her way to pick up her daughter when the sign landed on her car.

The fallen sign had been missing a “stiffener” plate and required inspections of the equipment weren’t carried out, VicRoads confirmed on Sunday.

“It found the sign failure was caused by a progressive fatigue crack due to the omission of a stiffener plate during the fabrication process,” its statement reads of the report.

Labor MP Luke Donnellan told reporters that VicRoads had worked with Transurban and their subcontractors to understand why required safety checks weren’t undertaken.

“That was a terrible oversight. Processes will change … to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he said on Sunday.


“The real issue is for the major contractors to Transurban and their subcontractors to look at their processes in terms of safety which were obviously not up to scratch.”

A probe into the construction company CPB Contractors, who built the signs, “found weaknesses in quality control” and several required equipment checks were neglected.

The company has begun taking steps to prevent another sign falling, VicRoads said.


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