THE final three stages of the duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale are finally underway.
Currently, road builders’ compounds are under construction, and there will be ground breaking on new sections of the highway at Kilmany and Flynn in the next few days and weeks.
The third and final stage of the Princes Highway East upgrade has been split into three sections, at Flynn, Kilmany and Kilmany east.
The successful contractors engaged are BildGroup (which will undertake the Flynn section), Laing O’Rourke (Kilmany) and Bairnsdale-based Whelans Group Investments (Kilmany east).
The Flynn section is about four kilometres long, and extends from Sheepwash Creek Rd to west of Flynns Creek Rd.
In this section, a two-lane highway in both directions will connect the already-completed sections at Traralgon East and Flynn to Rosedale, and intersections at Barrs Lane and Stuckey’s Lane will also be upgraded.
The Kilmany section is about 5.1km long, and extends from east of Maffra-Rosedale Rd, Nambrok, to Velore Rd, Kilmany.
As well as being upgraded to a two-lane highway, the section will include a new rail-over-road bridge, with the existing roadover-rail structure to be demolished.
The new structure will be a 95 metre-long single span steel arch bridge which will be built beside the new alignment, and then slid into its final position over the highway once completed.
Bridge designs are still being finalised.
The existing highway in the Kilmany section will be re-purposed as a new service road for Kilmany residents, and intersections will be upgraded at Settlement, Sale-Toongabbie and Velore Rds.
The Kilmany east section is about three kilometres long, and extends from east of Velore Rd in Kilmany to east of Templetons Rd.
The section’s works include upgrading to a two-lane highway in both directions, strengthening the existing highway and upgrading the Templetons Rd intersection.
The works will also include installing safety barriers and tactile edge lines and providing opportunities for regular U-turns.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien and Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the work was the culmination of a long wait and a strong community campaign.
“The duplication of the highway is a key project for Gippsland and will deliver significant safety benefits as well as freight efficiency and make our region a better place to live,” Mr Chester said.
“That’s why I’ve had the federal government’s 80 per cent commitment on the table for the past four years and have been fighting to get the project off the ground.
“It’s great to see it finally beginning.”
Mr O’Brien said the project would deliver a freeway-type experience virtually all the way from Melbourne to Sale.
“It’s disappointing that the state Labor government took so long to match the federal money that Darren and his team have had on the table, but we finally got that commitment in the middle of last year,” he said.
“We are both disappointed that it’s taken almost 12 months for the project to get underway, but finally we are there.
“I’ve had many people asking me where it is at and I know there will be relief to see the works start.
“Gippslanders have been very patient with the long timeframe and we need to put up with a few more years of roadworks yet — but ultimately it will be a great outcome.”