Originally written by AMI HUMPAGE
A LIBERAL Nationals Coalition Government will deliver six of the 21 much needed passing lanes along the Princes Highway west of Colac with an initial $10 million package over four years.
Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine and shadow roads minister Terry Mulder made the announcement in Garvoc yesterday morning.
“Building six new passing lanes on the Princes Highway over the next four years will keep VicRoads working at capacity and test the patience of road users, but it is a necessary and worthwhile program towards delivering the full set of 21 passing lanes needed between Colac and Mount Gambier,” Mr Mulder said.
Dr Napthine said he welcomed the funding announcement, which would help ease locals’ fears about using the Princes Highway.
“This road is dangerous – there have been 18 deaths and about 140 injuries in crashes on the highway’s western section in the past four-and-a-half years.”
He said a number of these passing lanes would be constructed within the South West Coast between Warrnambool and the South Australian border, which would make it much safer with the massive increase in truck traffic due to blue gum harvesting and the continual increase of tourists and general traffic.
“Too often local people have been frustrated at being stuck behind B-double trucks or caravans and camper vans and having more passing lanes will ease this frustration and make the road safer for all users.”
He said the opposition had allocated $10 million over four year and he expects if re-elected in 2014 more funding would become available.
“This is an ongoing project for a liberal government, $10 million is an enormous first step in this program.
“The six additional passing lanes will significantly improve safety and transport efficiency and as the program rolls out towards 2020 there will be 21 passing lanes between Colac and the SA border.”
He said it was estimated extra passing lanes between Colac and Mount Gambier would prevent up to 50 deaths and 300 serious injuries over the next decade.
“The Princes Highway is our number one highway, but it has been neglected and ignored by the city-centric Brumby Labor Government. In contrast the Coalition is committed to fixing the highway and installing life-saving passing lanes,” Dr Napthine said.
Dr Napthine is calling on the community to identify areas of the road which are most in need of passing lanes. To make a suggestion contact Dr Napthine’s electoral office on 555562 8230 or leave a message on his website at www.denisnapthine.com.au.