Construction to widen the Western Highway between Buangor and Ararat in Victoria will restart in 2018 following the approval of the amendment allowing works to proceed. Minister for roads and road safety Luke Donnellan said that a contractor will soon be appointed to get the project back up and running this month.
Work stopped on the site in February last year after the original permit for construction of the 12.5km stretch expired.
Work can now resume to duplicate the highway to two lanes in each direction, with additional turning lanes, a new bridge over the railway line, two new bridges over the Hopkins River and an interchange at Hillside Road.
The Western Highway is the main road link between Melbourne and Adelaide with more than 6,500 drivers, including 1,500 truck drivers, using the section of highway daily. In the five years to December 2015, eight people lost their lives in crashes on the Western Highway and 54 people were seriously injured.
Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said: “Drivers on rural roads are four times more likely to die in an accident –that’s why we’re making the Western Highway safer.”
The works are part of a US$672m (£388m) Australian and Victorian government-funded project. Construction of the section is expected to take about two years to complete.