WINTER is over and works on the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell are ramping up.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined Deputy Premier of Victoria Peter Ryan outside Buangor today to inspect the progress of construction.
“Drivers will soon notice excavation equivalent to 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools of earth from Box’s Cutting, building a flatter dual carriageway to help trucks maintain a more constant speed and bring down freight costs,” Mr Truss said.
“These works aren’t the only progress being made on the Western Highway — residents will be extremely pleased to know that planning for the Buangor bypass is progressing well, and we expect to award the contract to design and build the bypass next month.”
Mr Ryan said both governments were also wasting no time in getting on with the planning studies for the Ararat and Beaufort bypasses that were announced in May this year.
“Consultation with local residents, councils and stakeholders around the Ararat and Beaufort communities will kick off in the next couple of months, with a consultant coming on board to investigate any environmental, heritage, social, economic or traffic impacts of the bypasses,” Mr Ryan said.
“This will ensure we get the planning right on the bypasses to get the best result for local residents as well as the industries that rely on moving freight along the Western Highway.”
Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the Western Highway was the main freight link between Victoria and South Australia, with up to 5,500 vehicles, including 1,500 trucks, taking the route every day.
“The highway supports Victoria’s thriving western district, with its farming, grain production, tourism and manufacturing sectors,” Mr Tehan said.
“That is why the Australian and Victorian Governments have dedicated more than half a billion dollars to its upgrade.”
The Australian Government has committed $404 million to the Western Highway upgrade between Ballarat and Stawell, and the Victorian Government committed $101 million. The Australian and Victorian Governments have also committed $3 million and $1 million respectively to the Ararat and Beaufort bypasses planning study.
For Mr Truss: Kate Barwick 0408 072 809
For Mr Ryan: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731
For Mr Tehan: John Harris 0400 192 205