SECTIONS of the South Gippsland Highway between Foster and Stony Creek are to share in funding of $14 million announced by the State Government this week for road safety projects in regional Victoria. The local component of the funding will be $4.5 million, directed largely at the installation of safety barriers.
Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips and Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said regional roads were a key focus of the next round of the Safer Road Infrastructure Program (SRIP).
“An initial $17.7 million will be invested in 26 road safety projects across Victoria, which includes $14 million for 16 projects in regional Victoria,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Mr Mulder said that SRIP projects are chosen in accordance with an assessment of crash statistics which reveals the type of crashes occurring at a particular location. “This information is then used to develop treatments that will help prevent further incidents,” he said. “A good example is the South Gippsland Highway between Stony Creek and Foster where we are spending $4.5 million over three years. Crash statistics showed us that many of the 13 casualty crashes since 2009 occurred when vehicles ran off the road. Using this information, VicRoads put together a proposal to install various types of barriers, each purpose matched to the location and type of crash.”
A spokesperson for local MP and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said that further steps will be taken to boost safety along this stretch of the highway, including the removal of trees to increase visibility and the installation of rumble strips.
Mr Mulder said, “Other projects which will be funded across regional Victoria include improvements to high risk intersections, through upgrades to things like traffic signals, kerbs and lighting.”
In the South Gippsland region, this includes $3.8 million for the Strzelecki Highway between Leongatha and Koorooman for safety barriers, rumble strips and tree removal; $416,000 for the Inverloch-Venus Bay/Tarwin Lower Road intersection for resurfacing, safety barriers, improved signage, line marking and vegetation removal; and $360,000 for the Strzelecki Highway at Leongatha to create a protected right turn lane, resurfacing, line marking, drainage and signage.
Mr Ryan said the latest round of SRIP funding was on top of the $5.4 million the Coalition Government had already invested for safety improvement on the South Gippsland Highway between Lang Lang and Loch, and the $300,000 invested for left turn lane, kerbs, line marking, signs and vegetation removal on the South Gippsland Highway at Foster.
SRIP is a key initiative of Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan and is funded through the Transport Action Commission and delivered by VicRoads.
Mr Rich-Phillips said an evaluation into the effectiveness of SRIP by the Monash University Accident Research Centre indicated that the program is reducing casualty crashes by 31 per cent after locations have been treated.
In a further road safety measure, Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien visited Carrajung South last Friday on behalf of Deputy Premier Peter Ryan to open the $4.66 million Hyland Highway passing lane.
Another passing lane, this one measuring 1.3 kilometres on the Strzelecki Highway near Mirboo North, will be completed within coming weeks.
Mr Ryan said the locations of the passing lanes were chosen based on feedback from the community and local industry, including the dairy and logging sector which travel frequently on both the Hyland and Strzelecki Highways.
“I thank Gippslanders for the patience they have shown when travelling through the roadwork sites while these projects were being built and finalised,” he said.