Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says a multi-year program of upgrades is needed to improve safety on one of Gippsland’s most important arterial roads.
Mr Chester has called on the Federal and State Governments to list the Great Alpine Road as a ‘Road of Strategic Importance’ to gain access to millions of dollars in additional funding.
“The condition of the Great Alpine Road has deteriorated badly in some sections with wet seasons and heavy vehicle traffic, particularly between Bruthen and Omeo,” Mr Chester said.
“Victoria owns the road and is responsible for its upkeep but that doesn’t mean the Commonwealth can’t help out.
“The Great Alpine Road needs a multi-year commitment of funding for structural improvements, not a patchwork of pothole-filling, landslide repairs and temporary fixes.
“When I was Federal Transport Minister, I was able to negotiate with Victoria to secure a State-Federal Government package of works in the order of $18 million which delivered much needed- improvements up until December 2021, but I’m not aware of any ongoing funding agreement.
“So I’ve written to both levels of government and asked for the Great Alpine Road to be included in the ‘Roads of Strategic Importance’ program.
According to the Commonwealth’s criteria:
“ROSI will deliver works such as road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments – opening up corridors to provide a more reliable and safe road network, improve access for higher capacity vehicles, better connect regional communities, and facilitate tourism opportunities. Improved access provided through ROSI will deliver substantial social and economic benefits, including opportunities for greater regional employment and business growth.”
Mr Chester said it was the perfect program for a long-term effort to fix the Great Alpine Road and bring it up to a safe standard for locals and visitors.
“I have offered to work with both transport departments to negotiate a package of priority works and a rolling program of upgrades to this link which is critical for the social and economic life of our region,” Mr Chester said.
“The Great Alpine Road has unlimited potential as a touring route for the visitor economy and is essential for the future of the agricultural sector and safe movement of local families.
“I’ve delivered money for the road in the past, and I’m determined to do it again with the support of the local communities.”