The state government will spend $12 million installing safety barriers along one of the Ballarat region’s most dangerous roads which has been the site of 19 serious crashes in five years.
The Midland Highway between Ballarat and Creswick will be fitted with 11 kilometres of flexible safety barriers which will stop vehicles from drifting off the road.
The wire barriers will be installed along both sides of the highway as well as through the centre from Sulky through to White Hills Road in Creswick. Three new roundabouts at Millers, Cummins and Kennedys roads will be installed along the dangerous highway alongside wider road shoulders and a series of new overtaking lanes.
VicRoads first identified the stretch of the Midland Highway as a high risk road back in 2015 and conducted community consultation in August.
In the five years leading up to December 2015 three people died on along the road while a further 10 sustained serious injuries.
Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said the crash records made it clear the road needed urgent safety upgrades.
“Everyone makes mistakes on the road, but no one should die because of them,” Mr Donnellan said. “(The Midland Highway) is a heavily used and popular road but it’s not particularly wide and it’s got problems in many ways and that’s why these wire barriers are so important.”
Construction is expected to begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2018.
Among the fatalities along the Midland Highway was 20-year-old Ballarat woman Victoria ‘Tori’ Kurz, who was tragically killed after hitting black ice on the morning of July 9, 2013.
She was travelling home to Ballarat on the Midland Highway at Sulky when the crash occurred at 8.15am.
Father Matthew Kurz said he and wife Kelly would be grateful for any upgrades made to the road where their daughter was killed.
“We wish that it was implemented earlier to perhaps save our beautiful girl’s life,” Mr Kurz said of the road upgrades.
“We are still struggling with the loss of Victoria and every time we see another life lost it breaks our hearts that another family is going through what we are on a daily basis.”
The Ballarat-Creswick stretch of the highway was selected after being recognised as one of the 20 most dangerous regional roads across the state.
While Mr Donnellan did not rule out the possibility of a potential speed reduction along the highway in the future, he said any changes would be established through further community consultation.