Feds and state roadworks blitz

TWELVE federally-funded projects to upgrade the Princes Highway in Gippsland were announced last month, while the state government spruiks its maintenance blitz across Gippsland’s roads during summer.

The federal projects, totalling more than $40 million, will form part of the $75 million jointly-funded commitment to the Princes Highway east – from Rosedale to the New South Wales border – with the federal government allocating $60 million.

Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the projects would deliver bridge and intersection upgrades, street signals and other improvement works to ensure those using the highway have a safer, smoother journey.

“Ensuring the safety of motorists is an absolute priority of our government, which is why I am pleased to announce these 12 projects to significantly improve this stretch of the busy Princes Highway,” he said.

“After bushfires, floods and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, our government understands that now is the time to keep on pushing for communities, to get funding flowing and shovels in the ground to improve road safety in the Gippsland region.

“That’s exactly what we are doing, with our $110 billion infrastructure plan creating jobs, supporting businesses and securing the future of our cities and regions through road and rail projects that make a huge difference to the lives of Australians.”

Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the announcement was welcome news for the Gippsland region.

“There is no denying it has been a trying year and I applaud the community for continuing to support what’s great about Gippsland and keep our economy running,” Mr Chester said.

“These are the sort of projects that make a real difference to the day-to-day commutes of locals, delivering a safer and better journey that gives people greater peace of mind that their loved ones will make it home at the end of each trip.”

While the days are warmer and longer, and weather conditions are best for road construction, the state government has begun its road maintenance program locally.

State Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll Minister said maintenance crews were also out in force along the Princes and South Gippsland Highways in Gippsland, upgrading 2000 kilometres of roads, filling an estimated 220,000 potholes and repairing or replacing more than 30,000 signs during the drier months.

The maintenance program will deliver upgrades to important local and tourist roads, as well as some of Victoria’s key freight routes which carry high volumes of heavy vehicles each day exporting Victorian goods to the world – such as the Princes Highway.

The upgrades are part of the state government’s $653 million spend on road maintenance in the Victorian budget 2019-20.

The government says it has already allocated $411 million for the same cause in next year’s budget, adding to the $124 million for road maintenance announced in May, as a part of the Building Works coronavirus stimulus package.

With pre-construction activities already complete, construction on the Princes Highway duplication between Traralgon and Sale is expected to begin early this year, and be completed by early 2024.

As part of the project, two additional lanes will be added to provide a four-lane dual carriageway with a central median at Flynn (east of Sheepwash Creek Rd to west of Flynn’s Creek Rd) and Kilmany (east of Maffra-Rosedale Rd, Nambrok, to west of Sale-Cowwarr Rd, Fulham).

The road shoulder will be widened, flexible safety barriers installed, and tactile edge lines will provide regular U-turn opportunities.

Six intersections will be upgraded, local road and private access to the highway will be improved – including a service road in the Kilmany township.

The rail line and the highway will be separated by a road-under-rail solution at Kilmany.

The project is the third stage of the Princes Highway east duplication project between Traralgon and Sale, which began in 2010.