Funds to de­liver bet­ter roads

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Nicki Kyr­i­akou VicRoads re­gional di­rec­tor (north east)

VicRoads has lis­tened to our com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses who have told us loud and clear that our roads are not up to scratch to sup­port the grow­ing north east.

The big take­aways from VicRoads’ com­mu­nity dis­cus­sions in the north east last year — from Sey­mour to Yar­ra­wonga and Wodonga — was that our roads need to keep up with in­creased tourism, pop­u­la­tion and in­dus­try, and that safety was a crit­i­cal concern for driv­ers and cy­clists.

VicRoads has also been go­ing through the 300-plus sub­mis­sions to the Par­lia­men­tary In­quiry into Coun­try Roads, and lis­ten­ing to the frank and im­por­tant feed­back.

Our coun­try roads need an over­haul and that is what they are now get­ting, with $333 mil­lion in the State Bud­get to re­build and re­pair re­gional roads and a new ded­i­cated team to de­liver it.

From up­grad­ing the Kiewa Val­ley Hwy, Great Alpine Rd and Mur­ray Val­ley Hwy, to plan­ning for the Shep­par­ton Al­ter­na­tive Route and Hume Fwy ac­cess at Wodonga — our roads will be made safer and fit for pur­pose with $37 mil­lion of im­prove­ments in the north east alone.

The need to work much more closely with lo­cal gov­ern­ment has also been heard, with a $100 mil­lion fund to re­build and resur­face lo­cal es­sen­tial roads.

It is not only about more money though.

The new au­thor­ity for re­gional roads — Re­gional Roads Vic­to­ria — will help ad­dress decades of un­der­in­vest­ment and inat­ten­tion, over­see­ing $27.4 mil­lion of road main­te­nance in the north east.

Cham­pi­oning the needs of coun­try Vic­to­ria, it will give ru­ral and re­gional Vic­to­ri­ans a di­rect line of com­mu­ni­ca­tions to VicRoads, and a clear fo­cus on mak­ing the net­work safe and fit for a grow­ing tourism, agribusi­ness and in­no­va­tion econ­omy.

In­stead of look­ing at roads or bridges in iso­la­tion, we’re bet­ter un­der­stand­ing re­gional pri­or­i­ties and un­lock­ing jobs and in­vest­ment.

Peo­ple in the north east de­serve roads they can rely on, and this in­vest­ment will make sure the roads are safer and more reli­able than ever be­fore.

Dam­aged: Roads in the north east are not up to scratch.

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