VICTORIA’S iconic and internationally renowned Great Ocean Road – a favoured destination and ‘experience’ for tourist bus and coach operators and travellers Australia wide – is to receive key upgrades worth $272.4 million, the state government has announced.
“This [the upgrades] will deliver stronger, safer and more reliable roads for locals, tourists and the freight industry; it will help to boost the region’s economic recovery following the pandemic,” said Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll.
With its strict Melbourne Metro lockdown restrictions lifting somewhat recently – and given the state and national economies’ impact from it – tourism will prove key to recovery for many businesses and thus the road improvements will be ensuring, “…journeys are safer and more reliable with a major investment into road and bridge upgrades,” particularly as visitors begin to ‘head back to the Great Ocean Road’.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll announced that the Victorian Budget 2020/21 will include the $272.4 million for upgrading the Great Ocean Road and its inland routes, as well as key roads that support the dairy industry in the South West Region.
This includes $140 million to upgrade and improve the resilience of the Great Ocean Road so it can continue carrying millions of people each year as Victoria’s number one tourist route, the government explains.
Upgrades will include vital works to ensure the road remains strong – such as rebuilding road pavement, bridge strengthening, geotechnical works, and safety upgrades, it says.
Additionally, $115 million will be invested into upgrading the inland routes between the Great Ocean Road and the Princes Highway West, which are vital connections for the tourism and freight industries, as well as local communities, it states.
These upgrades will include pavement widening and rebuilding works so roads are stronger and smoother, as well as the construction of retaining walls to reduce the risk of landslips, it says.
Interestingly, $17.4 million will also be invested in priority roads supporting the Barwon South West Dairy Supply Chain – including rebuilding, resurfacing and widening roads, strengthening or replacing bridges, and planning for future upgrades. This will allow the routes to carry heavier vehicles, providing more efficient transport from depots, farms and processors, it explains.
The new projects build on the Victorian Government’s $53 million package of geotechnical works that started on the Great Ocean Road in 2017 to keep the road accessible by reducing the risk of landslips or rock falls, it confirms.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said: “The Great Ocean Road is an iconic Victorian attraction which brings millions of visitors to the region each year and is the lifeline for a number of communities along the coast.”
“This will deliver stronger, safer and more reliable roads for locals, tourists and the freight industry; it will help to boost the region’s economic recovery following the pandemic.”
Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said: “Our investment in the Barwon South West Dairy Supply Chain will enable these routes to carry heavy vehicles, meaning farmers and suppliers will be able to get their goods to market much more efficiently.”
Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said: “We’re investing in this much-loved road so that it can continue to carry millions of visitors each year and showcase the beauty of south-west Victoria.”
Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman said: “This investment will help support local communities and tourists who enjoy our spectacular coastline, making the road safer for residents and visitors alike.”
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