Logistics News

Billion dollar boost for Vic country roads

Government promises regional roads body in pre-election commitment

 

The Victorian Government will establish a new regional roads body as part of a $941 million infrastructure investment announced for the 2018-19 state budget, ahead of an election scheduled for 24 November this year.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the establishment of Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) – a new division of VicRoads to be based in Ballarat and led by a Chief Regional Roads Officer – to oversee a $333 million boost to road maintenance.

The funding commitment includes $229 million to be spent on the government’s Towards Zero Road Safety Action Plan, first established in 2016, with more new overtaking lanes, rumble strips and intersection upgrades on high-risk roads.

Another $100 million will be spent building a Fixing Country Roads fund, designed to provide grants to rural and regional councils to fix their local roads.

According to Victorian minister for roads and road safety Luke Donnellan, the Labor government had doubled spending on road maintenance since coming to office in 2014.

“We’re making this record investment and establishing Regional Roads Victoria to reduce congestion, improve safety and support primary producers to get their goods to market,” Donnellan says.

The Victorian Transport Association has welcomed the announcement, with CEO Peter Anderson saying the VTA had been advocating for more funding for some time.

“A safe and efficient regional transport network is essential for road freight operators and the thousands of farmers and small businesses they service throughout Victoria,” he says.

“We applaud the government for considering the infrastructure needs of regional Victorians through this announcement.”

Nonetheless, Anderson also reiterates the association’s calls for the establishment of a Victorian Freight Authority to advise government on the unique requirements of the transport and logistics industries when making planning decisions.

The individual projects to be funded through the commitment include:

  • Planning and pre-construction of new bypasses on the Western Highway at Beaufort and Ararat, at a cost of $98 million
  • Upgrades to the Princes Highway West between Colac and the South Australian border, at $40 million
  • Upgrades to improve safety and freight productivity along key sections of the Calder Highway, Hamilton Highway and the Kiewa Valley Highway
  • Intersection upgrades along Ballarat’s Sturt Street between Pleasant Street and Dyson Drive to reduce congestion
  • A new roundabout will be constructed on the Shepparton Alternate Route to improve safety and access for heavy vehicles, part of a $20 million investment to cater for future growth.
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