Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says more needs to be done to improve safety on the Hyland Highway linking Yarram and the Latrobe Valley.
Mr Chester inspected the $10 million of upgrades recently undertaken by the Federal and State Governments, but is concerned with the road surface and lack of safe overtaking areas.
“I was pleased to be able to secure $5 million from the Federal Government, which was matched by the State Government, to undertake the recent works – but no-one should be under any false impressions that the project is finished,” Mr Chester said.
“Although the road is owned by the State Government, I was able to secure federal funding for much-needed safety improvements that will save lives in the future.
“I have written to the new state Minister for Roads to gauge her interest in another round of funding to deliver further improvements.”
Mr Chester said it was up to the State Government to make the Hyland Highway a priority if the region was going to secure more growth through the visitor economy and improve safety for local motorists.
“As the Latrobe Valley grows and the eastern suburbs of Melbourne continue to expand, there’s no question that towns like Port Albert and our Gippsland beaches will become more heavily visited, so we need to make sure the travelling public can make it to our region safely,” Mr Chester said.
The $10 million highway package included changes to the highway at the intersections at Carrajung-Woodside Road, Flynns Creek Road, Rosedale-Flynns Creek Road and Grand Ridge Road. Road works have be completed along 20 kilometres of the highway between Flynns Creek Road and Carrajung-Woodside Road. It also covered shoulder construction and sealing, installation of safety guard rails, pullover areas, line marking and signage.
Mr Chester said the highway upgrade would improve safety for locals commuting to the Latrobe Valley and enhance transport efficiency for local producers.
“The upgrade will also make South Gippsland more attractive to visitors interested in touring through this picturesque region to enjoy its natural beauty and towns – and that will benefit all of us,” Mr Chester said.
“Like many regional areas, Gippsland is growing steadily with a thriving business community and associated freight activity. This increase in traffic means this investment is needed not only to keep visitors and locals safe, but to enhance transport efficiency for local businesses and producers.”