Busted bypass a step closer to re-opening

Princes Freeway in Victoria's town of Morwell will soon re-open as a drain design is being established

July 6, 2011

The Victorian town of Morwell is a step closer to usual business as the Princess Freeway, which has been closed for five months, is due to re-open.

Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder says the re-opening of the freeway is now a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

"I was briefed by local authorities on the status of the freeway closure and where we are in the context of working towards getting the freeway re-open.

"I am pleased to hear that remediation measures to date are working and reducing risks but experts advise further works are required before the road can re-open.

"This is a significant milestone and no doubt welcome news for the local community given the uncertainty of the past few months."

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and International Power Hazelwood (IPH) are a step closer to agreeing on the drain design, with DPI looking at changes recommended through the Quantities Risk Assessment (QRA) process.

The design is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks.

Once the QRA and the drain design are completed the necessary information will then be available to develop an expected timeline for the completion of the required works to re-open the freeway, Mulder says.

IPH will design and manage the drain refurbishment.

The final decision on the re-opening will be made by VicPol and VicRoads.

The bypass has been closed after cracks were found in the road pavement following rainfall in February.

Gippsland trucking companies have been forced to travel up to 30 minutes extra on each round trip to Melbourne due to traffic diversions through the centre of the town, adding costs to their business and causing traffic pain to Morwell residents.

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