AN upgrade of Sale’s unofficial bypass, the Myrtlebank-Fulham Rd, is being supported by Gippsland MHR Darren Chester.
Mr Chester, the federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, said traffic flows on the Sale alternative route had increased each year, and road safety upgrades were needed.
Improvements identified as priorities include intersection upgrades, better signs and strengthening the bridge over the Thomson River.
“The alternative route via Fulham and Myrtlebank is known as the unofficial bypass for Princes Highway traffic wanting to avoid Sale CBD, but the back road is not designed to cater for the increasing traffic flow,” Mr Chester said.
“Traffic flow along the route is growing at about six per cent each year, and the Princes Highway duplication improvements between Traralgon and Sale are expected to see this trend continue.
“Together with my state colleague Danny O’Brien, I am eager to work with all levels of government to secure funding for an upgrade of the Myrtlebank-Fulham Rd.”
Mr Chester said the federal government was not responsible for upgrading and maintaining the Myrtlebank-Fulham Rd, but he would work to secure funding in partnership with the Victorian government.
“The alternative route is an important freight link to east Gippsland and New South Wales.
“Any upgrades would add significant road safety benefits,” Mr Chester said.
“We know that by upgrading roads we can not only change lives by improving productivity, but we can also save lives by making our roads safer.
“Prior to the last federal election I announced record roads funding for the wider Gippsland region, and I am determined to secure additional funding into the future.”
Wellington Shire Council chief executive David Morcom recently met Mr Chester on-site to discuss the Myrtlebank-Fulham Rd upgrade.
“Wellington Shire Council has commissioned studies that show traffic demand along Myrtlebank-Fulham Rd will continue to increase, so we need to start preparing now for future upgrades,” he said.
“The alternative route is one of the key priorities identified in the Gippsland Freight Strategy as a solution to improve road safety and amenity concerns in the Sale city centre.
“Previous studies have identified upgrade options ranging between $10 million and $50 million, depending on the scope of works.
“The council looks forward to working with all levels of government to secure a better, safer road for our local residents.”
Mr Chester said he would encourage the Victorian government to identify the Myrtlebank-Fulham Rd as a priority, and make an application for funding from the federal government.