Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the full duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale will save lives, create jobs, and deliver bring long-term productivity benefits for Gippsland’s economy.
Mr Chester said construction work on the $252.6 million project was scheduled to start early next year after funding was formally confirmed this week.
“The final stages of the Princes Highway duplication is one of the most significant government-financed projects in Gippsland and it needs to get started as soon as possible,” Mr Chester said.
“This work will save lives by improving safety for all road users on the last two sections at Flynn and Kilmany which are still single carriageways.
“The duplication will improve productivity for transport companies and other businesses that rely on this important highway through Gippsland to reach Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
“Importantly, this is a significant investment of government money into our region at a time when we are recovering economically from the coronavirus pandemic, the summer bushfires and several years of drought.
“A project of this size will create valuable opportunities for Gippsland contractors and suppliers, who in turn support local jobs in the construction sector.”
The Federal Government is providing $202.6 million for the project, including $70.6 million announced in July as part of its stimulus package for Victoria. The Victorian Government has allocated $50 million.
The construction contract is expected to be awarded next year, with the roadworks due to be completed in 2024.
Mr Chester said the finished project would mean road users could travel on a fully duplicated highway from Melbourne to Sale.
“Many thousands of caravans and boats are towed along the highway all year around to reach the many beautiful parts of Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.
“Those trips will be completed more safely, more easily and more quickly, improving our region’s connectivity and accessibility. This will encourage visitors to spend time in our special part of the state and Gippsland will be a destination of choice for many years to come.”