STAGE 3 of the Princes Highway East Upgrade is approaching another major milestone, with Melbourne-bound traffic set to be switched under the Kilmany rail bridge next month.

Major Road Projects Victoria Senior Project Manager, Allison Heskey, told the Gippsland Times that highway traffic will be moved to a lane under the Kilmany rail bridge, which will be the first time that vehicles have gone under the new bridge.

Major Road Projects Victoria Senior Project Manager and Longford local, Allison Heskey has played a major hand in the Princes Highway East Upgrade.

“That is a pretty exciting milestone for us and allows us to get into the last few 100 metres of our project, digging out our eastbound carriageway ready for full completion in the middle of the year,” Ms Heskey said.

A Longford-local, Ms Heskey’s experience as an engineer in the construction industry spans more than 30 years and includes working across a wide variety of major transport and other infrastructure projects.

She has been heavily involved in the Princes Highway East Upgrade, including its July 2023 milestone of the building of the Kilmany rail bridge and its offline construction, which required a 27-metre rail-bridge slide.

When the Princes Highway East Upgrade is complete, there will be two lanes in each direction instead of one.

The $513 million project, funded 80 per cent by the federal government and 20 per cent from the state, adds 43 kilometres of new dual lanes to the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale.

It is estimated that up to 15,000 motorists use this stretch of road daily.

The first two stages are already complete, with 31 kilometres of new lanes on the Princes Highway and upgrading 22 intersections. Stage 1 began in 2010, with Stage 3 in 2021.

Stage 3 is the final stage and is expected to be completed this year, ending a project over a decade in the making.

Come March, there will still be disruption near the working areas, as traffic is moved to different lanes. This will allow the final kilometres of work to be completed faster.

Stage 3 will finish the work on the final 12 kilometres of a consistent two-lane highway, and deliver a range of safety improvements for locals, day-trippers and holidaymakers travelling to the snowfields and Gippsland lakes.

The Princes Highway East Upgrade project is in its final months of work.

“Safety was one of the main drivers of the project, especially at the intersections. Pre-upgrade crash statistics showed high numbers of serious crashes,” Ms Heskey said.

“It was also for more resilience to congestion and helping freight get in and out of the rural areas more easily.”

The construction is part of the Big Build Initiative set up by the state government, which aims to improve Victoria’s road and transport network. The total cost of the Big Build is expected to be $100 billion.

There will be continued disruption on the stretch of road on the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale as traffic is moved onto different lanes.
Photos: Stefan Bradley

Ms Heskey has also previously worked on the Mount Hotham Airport and the foundations of Docklands Stadium projects. She says there are brilliant opportunities out there for women and girls who are interested in pursuing careers in  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

“I’m proud of my time in the construction industry – working across a wide variety of infrastructure projects and now leading the way as an MRPV Senior Project Manager with our team working towards completion of the Princes Highway East Upgrade,” she said.