Local MP Darren Chester says work to seal a section of the Bonang Highway must get underway as a priority bushfire and Coronavirus recovery project.
Mr Chester said local residents had waited for too long for 12 kilometres of the highway between Goongerah and Bonang, also known as Bonang Road, to be upgraded.
“I secured $2 million from the Federal Government to help fund this vital work, but an equal contribution from the State Government hasn’t been forthcoming to enable the work to begin,” Mr Chester said.
Mr Chester has written to both the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Victoria’s Minister for Transport Infrastructure to get the project moving.
“Initial estimates for this project were $4 million, but I suspect the actual costs will exceed this amount. I’ve written to both ministers again to ask for updated costings and seeking immediate funding support,” Mr Chester said.
“Sealing this section final section of the Bonang Highway will be good for local jobs during the construction phase. In the longer term, it will improve safety for trucks carrying livestock and timber through the area, as well as locals, producers and other heavy vehicles.
“Importantly, upgrading the highway will provide a more secure route during bad weather and emergencies like bushfires.
“A sealed road between Bombala and Orbost will be good for the visitor economy. The highway is already popular with visitors to and from Gippsland crossing the mountains, but sealing this last section will help it to become one of the great touring routes for motorists and motorcyclists.
“If we can get the funding in place and other preliminary work done, this will be a valuable project to help our community recover from the economic impact of the bushfires and the Coronavirus.”