CORANGAMITE MP Sarah Henderson is demanding a review into VicRoads’ management of the Princes Highway duplication after a delay to the project’s completion date.
VicRoads announced earlier this week that it had delayed the highway’s completion date between Waurn Ponds and Winchelsea after contractors stopped work for winter.
Ms Henderson said the delay to the $371-million project was “frankly not good enough” and she was “deeply concerned” by the delay.
“For many months, the State Government and its agency VicRoads guaranteed that the 23-kilometre road project would be completed by June of this year,” she said.
“In fact, just last month I was told by VicRoads that the official opening of the road would occur on the 29th of May.”
The federal and state duplication project started in March 2011 and Polwarth MP Terry Mulder, who was the Roads Minister at the time, said contractors should complete the work by the second half of 2014.
But project director Tony Hedley told the Colac Herald in August last year that “wetter than average” weather had delayed the project’s completion date to mid-2015.
Mr Hedley said this weekly that cold weather had caused the further delay, with contractors unable to seal the surface.
“VicRoads contractor BMD Constructions has generally finished for the winter period and will resume to complete the duplication when weather conditions are more suitable,” he said.
“While there is not a lot to do, and the majority of the dual highway is open to traffic at 100kmh, two sections of the road still require a final touch to finish things off.
“A 1300-metre length between the railway line and Buckley on the Geelong bound lanes and a 200-metre section just east of Mount Pollock Road on the Colac-bound lanes need to dry before they can be sealed.”
Ms Henderson said while she understood delays caused by relocating power and telephone services on the stretch of road, delays caused by weather were unacceptable.
“I do not accept that poor weather has been the only cause of these delays,” she said.
“Variability of weather conditions should be routinely factored into major construction projects as a matter of best-practice project management.”
Ms Henderson said the project was important for jobs, investment, tourism and road safety and residents, business operators and commuters needed answers to the ongoing delays.
“That’s why I am calling for a review into the way this project has been managed.”