Government scoffs at Baillieu's Princes Highway proposal

Victorian Coalition promises to fix the poor state of the Princes Highway by adding six passing lanes if elected

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 27, 2010

The Victorian Coalition has promised to fix the poor state of the Princes Highway by adding six passing lanes if elected in November.

The party has pledged $10 million to build the lanes on the 288-kilometre section between Colac and Mt Gambier.

A spokesman for Roads Minister Tim Pallas, Bill Kyriakopoulos, fired back saying "no one could trust any election promises made by the Opposition".

"Until [Opposition leader] Ted Baillieu submits his promises to the Victorian Treasury they are not worth the paper they are written on," Kyriakopoulos says.

Warrnambool Mayor Michael Neoh, who held a rally last month to highlight the poor condition of the highway, called on the State Government to indicate a rollout of passing lanes required between Colac and the South Australia border.

"There’s 18 passing lanes on VicRoads’ schedule; the Coalition have announced they’ll fund a minimum of six in the first four years of government," Neoh says.

"We’ve got 25 percent of the dairy product of Australia coming through this region, the Princes Highway is absolutely chaotic. If you have one or two trucks or caravans in front of you there’s just no opportunity to pass between Colac and the South Australia border."

Kyriakopoulos says the Government is spending millions of dollars "progressively upgrading" the Princes Highway, with work having started on the $220 million duplication of the highway between Waurn Pond and Winchelsea.

"We were recently successful in securing a Federal Labor Government commitment to the $515 million upgrade of the highway between Winchelsea and Colac," he says.

"While these major upgrade projects are undertaken, we will consider further passing lane projects along the corridor into the future.

"There have been six passing lanes already completed between Colac and the border and an additional $1.4 million announced this year for a passing lane to be constructed at Illowa."

He says the Government understands the importance of state roads and highways to the state’s regional communities and businesses, which is why VicRoads "provides regular maintenance and why the Government is investing in vital road upgrades."

"Recent significant rain after a long dry spell has taken its toll on Victorian roads, causing many potholes and other road surface damage problems," Kyriakopoulos.

"We are aware of the community’s concern and have crews out repairing damage as quickly as possible within available resources."

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