Safer and more reliable journeys on the Western Highway as another 21 kilometres open

Media Release

DC054/2016

21 April 2016

Joint release with:

Luke Donnellan

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety

Dan Tehan

Federal Member for Wannon

Jaala Pulford

Member for Western Victoria

Drivers are benefitting from another 21 kilometres of upgraded Western Highway thanks to two new duplicated sections.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester announced the opening of 15 kilometres of new lanes, two in each direction, from Beaufort to Buangor and a six-kilometre bypass of the town of Buangor.

The works are part of the $662.3 million Australian and Victorian government-funded project.

“This is a significant milestone for the Western Highway upgrade, adding to the 34 kilometres of road already duplicated between Ballarat and Beaufort,” Mr Chester said.

“The Western Highway is the main road link between Melbourne and Adelaide, so these upgrades mean safer, more efficient transport and trade between the two cities.”

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said the divided lanes and overtaking opportunities would improve safety on a stretch that was notorious for crashes.

“In the five years to December 2015, there were 101 accidents between Ballarat and Stawell, of which 34 were caused by vehicles crossing the centre line,” Mr Donnellan said.

“There have been eight fatalities and 54 people seriously injured.

“More than 6,500 drivers, including 1,500 truck drivers, who use this road every day will benefit from these upgrades. With that number expected to double by 2025, these upgrades go a long way towards meeting future demand on this nationally significant highway.”

Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the Western Highway upgrades were critical for supporting the key transport corridor through Victoria's western district.

“Significant industries in Western Victoria, such as farming and grain production, will welcome more reliable travel times on the Western Highway because of these upgrades,” Mr Tehan said.

“The upgrades will also boost travel to tourist sites such as Halls Gap in the Grampians and wineries in the Pyrenees area.

“The improvements will improve safety and enhance the amenity of Buangor.”

Victorian Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said works were also underway to duplicate the road between Buangor and Ararat.

“With the Expressions of Interest called for the duplication of the highway between Buangor and Ararat, motorists will be able to drive from Melbourne to Ararat more reliably and efficiently,” Ms Pulford said.

“Work to upgrade local roads and access points will continue in both the Buangor township and Beaufort to Buangor section.”

The Australian Government has committed $501.3 million and the Victorian Government $161 million to the overall Western Highway duplication between Ballarat and Stawell.