An independent inquiry initiated in September 2017 by the Liberal and Nationals’ Government into the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2011-2020 has been formally released today.
Work to upgrade and strengthen the Beaufort rail bridge on the Western Highway is now complete, future-proofing one of Victoria's most important freight transport corridors.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals' Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the upgraded bridge formed a critical part of a major transport route.
“Upgrading and strengthening the Beaufort Rail Bridge demonstrates the importance of the Western Highway to Australia's freight industry and our commitment to regional Victoria,” Mr McCormack said.
“We're making this bridge safer for all users, boosting productivity along the Western Highway and improving journeys between Western Victoria and Melbourne.”
Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said after more than 50 years, the bridge structure was due for a much-needed upgrade.
“We've built a safer, stronger and more reliable Beaufort bridge for the thousands of locals, producers and freight vehicles that travel and rely on this route every day,” Mr Donnellan said.
“Strengthening the bridge means the Western Highway can continue to function as one of Victoria's most productive transport routes serving our farming, tourism and manufacturing industries.”
Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the upgrade strengthened and improved safety on the 53-year-old bridge over the Ararat-Melbourne railway line in Beaufort.
“Built in 1965, the Beaufort Rail Bridge is a crucial link for communities along the Western Highway and this upgrade ensures higher capacity freight vehicles can travel over the bridge more safely,” Mr Tehan said.
The project has increased the rail bridge's maximum load capacity to 110 tonnes, bringing it in-line with current heavy vehicle standards and extending its life for future generations.
State Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said the upgrade ensures higher capacity freight vehicles can now safely travel over the bridge.
“The Western Highway is one of our most important transport corridors—that's why we're making these improvements to boost productivity and make it easier for Victorians to do business,” Ms Pulford said.
The Beaufort Rail Bridge upgrade is part of the $659.7 million Western Highway—Ballarat to Stawell Duplication project, to which the Australian Government has committed $499.4 million and the Victorian Government $160.3 million.