Groups link to lobby on Western Hwy duplication

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


Action committee gets VTA support to keep the pressure on

Groups link to lobby on Western Hwy duplication
Kevin Erwin wants progress to continue

 

A campaign aimed at securing funding for the upgrade of Victoria’s Western Highway duplication kicks off tomorrow.

The Western Highway Action Committee (WHAC) together with the Victorian Transport Association will launch the ‘Don’t stall – fund to Stawell’ campaign, calling on State and Federal governments to deliver the $500 million needed to complete the duplication to Stawell.

WHAC chairman and Northern Grampians Shire mayor Kevin Erwin says the highway, which he describes as being the busiest in Victoria, has had one too many deaths and injuries.

"It’s a little over half way through of the initial project and we just don’t want to see things slow down and stop," Erwin says.

"Victoria needs to identify this as a funding priority for the infrastructure investment program; if you drive on the highway you can see the wear and tear on the road.

"There are plenty of trucks on it and mid-afternoon they all start to ramp up; you get long strings of trucks together and it does make it a bit scary for people in cars."

The first upgrade of the duplication was opened early last year.

The 8.1km stretch between Ballarat and Stawell is part of the $505 million in works to the highway, which accommodates more than 1,500 trucks and 4,000 cars.

VTA ceo Neil Chambers is urging local operators to show their support, describing the highway as the workhorse of the state.

"There’s no denying that the Western Highway is one of, if not the busiest single-lane highway in Victoria," Chambers says.

"Safety is a huge concern for the industry and it’s simply not acceptable that a stretch of road that has seen 11 fatalities and around 80 people seriously injured in the past 18 months alone has not received funding for duplication and safety upgrades.

"It is vital for the success and productivity of the industry as well as the safety of all road users that the planned duplication is funded."

The WHAC will be launching revised lobbying material tomorrow.

It aims to secure around $150 million for a 12km stretch of duplication work between Pope Road, Buangor and Warrayatkin Road east of Ararat in the lead up to the November state election.

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