Midland Highway upgrades: work to start next month

SAFER: Four new overtaking lanes will be added to the Midland Highway, and inset, the scene of fatal crash near Batesford on Friday last week.

SAFER: Four new overtaking lanes will be added to the Midland Highway, and inset, the scene of fatal crash near Batesford on Friday last week.

Construction will start on the first of four new Midland Highway overtaking lanes between Ballarat and Geelong from next month.

A northward-bound lane will be added at the highway’s intersection with Old Mill Road, near Bannockburn.

The highway has been a hot spot for fatal crashes, with three people killed on the road in the last year.

It includes 18-year-old Bannockburn resident Amy Gorell who was killed north of Batesford on Friday last week.

There have also been 12 serious injury crashes since 2012, four of which involved cars running off the side of the road or crossing the road.

Works will follow on three more sections at Lethbridge and Meredith including;

  • A south-bound overtaking lane south of Lethbridge
  • A north-bound overtaking lane at Lethbridge Airport
  • A south-bound overtaking lane between Meredith and Sharp Road.

The project will cost $12.5 million to upgrade the four sections of highway south of Meredith.

There will also be wire barriers installed to prevent cars running off the side of the road.

Bunninyong MP Geoff Howard said the works will provide a safer and more reliable journey.

“We have listened to what the community has had to say about safety on the Midland Highway – now we’re getting on and building the additional overtaking lanes that residents and freight operators need,” he said.

Upgrades will be completed in four stages to minimise disruption to motorists, starting with the overtaking lane near Bannockburn and working northwards.

The state government said in a press release it expects the work to be finished by mid-2018.

Western Victoria MP Joshua Morris said the funding for the critical road project was long overdue.

“Labor has been dragging their heels on this project, as a result drivers have been subjected to dangerous conditions for too long,” he said.

“It is certainly a road that is ever increasing in terms of car numbers and the government is failing to keep pace with this growth.”