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Motorists are now enjoying a new overtaking lane on the Princes Highway east of Genoa.

The new west-bound lane is an important component of the $50 million package of major upgrades along the Princes Highway from Bairnsdale to the New South Wales border.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the 1.2 kilometre overtaking lane would improve safety for locals, visitors and the freight industry, which all used this section of the highway as an important link between Gippsland and southern New South Wales.

“As you would expect, the closure of the border between our two states has significantly reduced traffic on the highway right now,” Mr Chester said.

“But once we get to the other side of this pandemic and we can again move about freely, more vehicles heading towards Cann River will use this new section of road to safely overtake slower drivers.

“At night, the lanes are clearly defined and illuminated by the many reflectors installed along the roadside and between the carriageways to increase visibility for drivers.

“The upgrades we’ve undertaken set out to address safety issues along the highway, including the risk of vehicles running off the road or colliding head-on.

“At the same time, we’re making the highway more efficient, which is good news for the transport industry and others who regularly travel this road.

“There are new rest areas that can accommodate long vehicles, such as trucks, motorhomes and towing vehicles, to give drivers a safe place to stop and take a break from driving.

“Unfortunately, the summer bushfires damaged some sections of the highway and forced its closure for around three weeks. I’m glad those setbacks are behind us now and we are again making progress.”

More work will be undertake next year to create a smooth and consistent full-width sealed surface.

The cost of the project is being split evenly between the Australian and Victorian governments.

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