Highway work back on track
Construction to duplicate the Western Highway between Buangor and Ararat will restart in 2018, following the approval of a new planning amendment allowing works to proceed.
Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan announced a contractor would soon be appointed to get the vital safety project back up and running this month.
Work stopped on the site in February last year after the original Incorporated Document for construction of the 12.5-kilometre section of the project expired.
Work can now resume to duplicate the highway to two lanes in each direction, with additional turning lanes, a new bridge over the railway line, two new bridges over the Hopkins River and an interchange at Hillside Road.
The Western Highway is the main road link between Melbourne and Adelaide with more than 6500 drivers, including 1500 truck drivers, using the section of highway daily.
In the five years to December 2015, eight people lost their lives in crashes on the Western Highway and 54 people were seriously injured.
Mr Donnellan said the significant safety overhaul would save lives and make transport and trade more efficient between Adelaide and Melbourne.
“We’re building a better Western Highway to support communities and the regional economy across Western Victoria,” he said.
“Drivers are seeing the benefits of 55 kilometres of the Western Highway that’s already been duplicated and we’re pleased to restart works on the section to Ararat.”
Construction of section 2b is expected to take about two years to complete. The works are part of a $672-million Australian and Victorian government-funded project.
Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford welcomed the announcement.
“The construction of the 12.5-kilometre section between Buangor and Ararat is the next step in delivering a safer, more efficient connection between Ballarat and Stawell that our local community needs,” she said.
“Drivers on rural roads are four times more likely to die in an accident – that’s why we’re making the Western Highway safer.”
Workers are completing asphalt maintenance on Horsham roads, causing delays to drivers.
The works will be carried out in stages and in some cases, short detours might be necessary while freshly laid asphalt cools.
Speed restrictions and variable message boards will be in place across work sites at the following locations: • Western Highway between Wawunna Road and High Street North, until January 17. • Wimmera Highway between Gardenia Street and Firebrace Street, from January 18 to 19. • Wimmera Highway, Darlot Street roundabout, from January 22 to 24.
Dates are subject to change, depending on weather and other conditions.
Message boards advising imminent works will be in place at each site three days before works start.
Vicroads leaders have urged all drivers to take care when travelling through roadworks.
People can visit traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au or download the Victraffic app via app store for the latest traffic information across the state.