A newly-created VicRoads department focused on regional roads opens its doors in Ballarat on Monday.
Roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan visited Creswick to launch Regional Roads Victoria, the new dedicated country roads body that will oversee work on regional roads.
Its establishment created 24 jobs which will be based within the existing VicRoads Wendouree regional office.
The division will later move into the Ballarat GovHub development, due to open in 2020.
New chief regional roads officer Paul Northey said major regional road rebuilds will start this month.
“We know the condition of country roads is the number one challenge on our arterial network – that’s why we’re getting straight to work this month to repair and rebuild the roads that need it most,” he said.
“Regional Roads Victoria is based in regional Victoria and staffed by people who drive on country roads every day – we’re here in Ballarat, with offices, depots and service centres to fix the roads you rely on.”
"We’re here in Ballarat, with offices, depots and service centres to fix the roads you rely on."Luke Donnellan, roads and road safety minister
A dedicated $941 million from the 2018-19 State Budget will fund the planning, building and maintenance undertaken by the new division.
More than 1500 kilometres of country roads will be repaired, resurfaced or rebuilt under a $333 million maintenance program – creating around 650 construction jobs in regional Victoria.
Mr Donnellan said regional Victorians will now get ‘the attention they deserve’.
“Over the coming months, you’ll see crews fixing hundreds of the country roads that people rely on every day to get to work or take their kids to school,” he said.
Major road rebuilds on sections of the Hume Highway at Winton, the Princes Highway near Moe and Borung Highway at Dimboola are planned to start this month.
Victorians will be able to see what works are underway or planned across the state on the Regional Roads Victoria website, with a new interactive map.
The Ballarat call centre will be open to enquiries and hazard reports from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
The existing five regional VicRoads offices will remain in place.
VicRoads will continue to operate the network performance and deliver registration and licensing services to the community.