Passing lanes in East Gippsland delivered early, ahead of peak summer season

Media Release

WT438/2015

23 December 2015

Joint release with:

Luke Donnellan

Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports

Darren Chester

Member for Gippsland

Harriet Shing

Member for Eastern Victoria Region

Three overtaking lanes on the Princes Highway East between Nowa Nowa and Orbost have been completed ahead of schedule. The lanes will provide safer overtaking opportunities for vehicles which must often queue behind slow or heavy vehicles in the mountainous terrain.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the project involved the construction of two eastbound overtaking lanes at Hospital Creek and Dinner Creek and one westbound overtaking lane near Wombat Creek.

“The Australian and Victorian governments are jointly contributing to this $11 million project to construct overtaking lanes in East Gippsland,” Mr Truss said.

“The overtaking lanes will provide motorists with safer passing opportunities and will reduce delays during peak times.”

Victorian Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said other road safety treatments had been installed in addition to the overtaking lanes, including improvements to the existing road pavement, wider road shoulders, safety barriers and the removal of roadside hazards such as trees.

“A narrow median treatment has also been introduced as part of safety measures to reduce the likelihood of fatal and serious head-on collisions,” Mr Donnellan said.

“The treatment will provide a wider gap between traffic travelling in opposing directions at high speeds.”

“By creating a wider space between oncoming traffic, motorists have more time to recover if they start to stray out of their lane. The median treatment is half a metre wide and includes reflective pavement markers to give drivers a visual and audible clue to help them stay in their lane.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Princes Highway was a key freight and tourist route, with 20 per cent of vehicles being heavy vehicles. There is a 50 per cent increase in traffic volumes during peak holiday periods.

“East Gippsland is a popular holiday destination for people towing boats and caravans, but the long stretches of single carriageway between Nowa Nowa and Orbost was contributing to long traffic queues,” Mr Chester said.

“These three new overtaking lanes, in addition to other upgrades, will ensure motorists can arrive at their destination safely.”

Local Member for Eastern Victoria Region Harriet Shing said the upgrades would help make the road safer over the busy Christmas holiday period.

“This project will help make our roads safer for both locals and the thousands of tourists who visit our region each year.”

“The wider lanes will mean drivers have more room on the road and help improve the flow of traffic.”

Construction of the three Princes Highway East overtaking lanes began in November 2014.