FEDERAL MP Sarah Henderson says the Princes Highway duplication between Winchelsea and Colac will be an “enormous asset for the people of Colac Otway and south-west Victoria”.
Ms Henderson joined VicRoads’ Tony Hedley, Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan and shire councillors Michael Delahunty and Lyn Russell to launch the Winchelsea-to-Colac section of the highway duplication this week.
Ms Henderson said the duplicated highway would improve connections for the community, business and industry and it was “wonderful to see work commence”.
“A duplication highway between Winchelsea and Colac will be a dream come true; I’ve been campaigning for the upgrade since 2009.
“This route serves many important industries in south-west Victoria, including agriculture, forestry, grain growing, dairy and tourism,” Ms Henderson said.
“This upgrade will increase efficiency and safety for motorists and heavy vehicles travelling on the Princes Highway West.
“The Princes Highway West is a major link to tourist attractions, such as the Great Ocean Road, and is a vital link for regional Victorians to commercial centres such as the port of Melbourne, Geelong and Portland.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said communities had been involved in shaping this project at every stage to help deliver “what is best for the region”.
“The Australian and Victorian Governments have each committed $185.5 million to complete the duplication works between Winchelsea and Colac,” Mr Truss said.
Victorian Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney said the project would improve Colac’s main thoroughfare, delivering a new pedestrian bridge over Barongarook Creek, and upgrades to five pedestrian crossings.
“The benefits of this project won’t be confined to the Colac community, but will be felt right throughout the region, including local residents, tourists and the freight industry,” Ms Tierney said.
“Projects such as this are incredibly important and will ensure we continue to create jobs, drive growth and strengthen regional Victoria.”
Ms Henderson said the State Government had learnt “some lessons” with construction of Geelong to Winchelsea section of the highway duplication, with VicRoads planning to complete the Colac-to-Winchelsea section by mid-2019.
“I very much hope the State Government does everything possible to deliver it on time and on budget.”