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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says he’s worried a multi-million project to strengthen bridges on a major transport route has been abandoned by the Labor Party.

Mr Chester secured $6.2 million from the previous Federal Government for the bridge work on the Sale alternative route as part of a much-awaited plan to upgrade the entire road and allow more heavy vehicles to by-pass the Sale CBD.

“We were supposed to see $6.2 million worth of funding from the previous Federal Government spent this year on bridge strengthening work to allow heavier vehicles to safely use the alternate route around Sale but now the signs advertising the project have been removed,” Mr Chester said.

“The Federal Minister for Transport Catherine King announced a 90 day review of the infrastructure investment program almost 200 days ago and she can’t even deliver that on time.

“Every project that had attracted Federal Government funding, but work hadn’t started, has been stalled across Australia including about $30 million worth of road projects in Gippsland because of this so-called review.”

Mr Chester said he would keep fighting for the funding to be restored along with more support for a larger project along the busy transport route.

“The traffic volumes are increasing on the Sale alternative route because it makes sense for motorists who aren’t intending to stop in town to by-pass the city centre,” he said.

“On top of the bridge work, we need to secure funding for intersection upgrades, widening and other safety features which could cost up to $100 million in total.

“A lot of planning and design work has already been done and this is a project the state and federal governments should be giving a much higher priority.

“Investing in better and safer regional roads will save lives and also improve productivity for our freight sector while boosting the visitor economy.”

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