MOTORISTS will have a safer trip on one of Ballarat’s most notorious roads, after the official opening of the Western Highway duplication to Burrumbeet yesterday.
The Melbourne-bound lanes between Ballarat and Burrumbeet have been completed, with the Adelaide-bound route opening in stages as line marking is completed.
At yesterday’s official opening ceremony, Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King said too many lives had been lost on the dangerous 8.1km section of highway.
“Travel on the upgraded highway will be safer and more reliable, reducing the risk of head-on accidents and driver frustration due to a lack of safe overtaking opportunities,” she said.
The completion of the duplication to Burrumbeet marks the first section of the $505 million Ballarat to Stawell Western Highway upgrade.
The project, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments, will see another 23 kilometres completed between Burrumbeet and Beaufort by 2014.
Ms King said duplicating the Western Highway would provide major economic benefits for the Ballarat region and improve access to local and interstate travellers.
“More than 5500 vehicles, including more than 1300 of these being freight vehicles, will travel on this section of the highway per day and with these numbers expected to double by 2015, this project will accommodate these volumes,” she said.
Victorian Minister for Regional Cities Denis Napthine said the Western Highway Duplication was an important project for Victoria, providing safer and more efficient roads and better access for local towns.
He said it was part of the state government’s plan for improved road and freight movements in Victoria.
City of Ballarat Mayor John Burt said the completion of the first section of the Western Highway project was a positive milestone.
“This busy highway is the major road link between Melbourne and Adelaide and a clear, fast passage is important to support transport, interstate trade and road freight efficiency in western Victoria,” he said.
He said the project also enabled the Avenue of Honour to be rejoined once again.