Safety improvements for major link to Victoria's high country

More upgrades have begun on the Great Alpine Road between Wangaratta and Cobungra in Victoria, which will improve the popular route's safety and reliability.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the works would help support the economies of towns along what is a major tourism route.

“The Great Alpine Road plays a vital role in the economic prosperity of the North East,” Mr McCormack said.

“It is a key freight route, a popular link through Victoria's high country for tourists and people going on skiing holidays and is vital to ensuring communities throughout the region stay connected.”

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said road safety was a top priority for the Victorian Government.

“This is about making sure anyone who uses the Great Alpine Road experiences a safer and more reliable journey,” Mr Donnellan said.

“Work has begun on 34 kilometres of shoulder sealing works along the Great Alpine Road between Wangaratta and Harrietville and planning for additional safety improvements are also underway,” Mr Donnellan said.

Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the works build on the commitment to upgrading rural and regional roads.

“Local industries such as agriculture and tourism are vital to supporting the region's economy, as are events such as the Bright Autumn Festival. These upgrades will make the roads safer and more accessible for locals and visitors alike when exploring our beautiful region and attending the great events on offer,” Senator McKenzie said.

State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the works will deliver benefits for local jobs and local economies.

“Not only will this upgrade make our roads safer, it will support Victorian jobs – with a local construction company delivering five kilometres of shoulder construction, sealing and culvert works – from the southern end of Freeburgh to McMahons Lane in Smoko,” Ms Symes said.

These works are expected to be completed by 2020.

The Australian and Victorian Governments have jointly funded the $8 million Great Alpine Road improvements between Wangaratta and Cobungra through the $345 million Rural and Regional Roads Package. The overall project is expected to be completed in 2021.

The works complement the $10 million of safety improvements being undertaken on the Great Alpine Road between Cobungra and Bruthen.