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August 29, 2013

A Federal Coalition Government will partner with the Victorian Coalition Government to invest $11 million in safety upgrades on the Princes Highway east.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester joined Deputy Premier and Leader of The Victorian Nationals Peter Ryan and State Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull today to announce the funding which will be provided for three new overtaking lanes between Nowa Nowa and Orbost.

“It has been a long-fought battle to get a significant Federal commitment to support road safety upgrades on this section of highway which isn’t recognised on the National Road Network,” Mr Chester said.

“The Federal Labor Government refuses to see how necessary the improvement is, but the Coalition has made the commitment.

“Twenty per cent of the traffic along the route is made up of heavy freight vehicles and there is a 50% increase in traffic volumes during busy holiday periods. It’s important that safety upgrades benefit all road users.

“The thirty kilometre section of the Princes Highway east in question has a number of tight bends which make it dangerous and difficult to safely overtake slower moving vehicles.

“The three overtaking lanes will be constructed east-bound at Hospital Creek and Dinner Creek, and west-bound near Wombat Creek.

“The funding will take some of the pressure off the VicRoads budget and allow it to continue with the program which has been supported by both Tim Bull and myself over the past three years.”

Mr Ryan said the plan would strengthen works already carried out by the Victorian Coalition including $4.3 million to combat driver fatigue between Stratford and Bairnsdale; $3.3 million to remove roadside hazards and install shoulders between Orbost and Cann River; and $625,000 to upgrade a truck rest area near Club Terrace.

“The Princes Highway East is a key freight route for Gippsland produce and this funding will provide safer passing opportunities for motorists and hopefully lower driver frustrations,” said Mr Ryan said.

“The section from Nowa Nowa to Orbost is one of the remaining sections of the highway in East Gippsland that hasn’t already had extra overtaking lanes installed.”

Mr Bull said the additional three overtaking lanes will mean there will soon be three overtaking opportunities in each direction between the two towns.

“Drivers require a clear view of the road ahead and adequate time to safely pass, and this is what the new overtaking lanes will provide,” Mr Bull said.

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