Funding hurdle

THE State Government will need to contribute more funding to the realignment of the South Gippsland Highway between Koonwarra and Meeniyan if the project is to proceed, according to Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien.

The Federal and State governments have both contributed $25 million to highway works, but Mr O’Brien said the federal funding comprised of $20 million for the realignment of the tight bends known as the Black Spur, with a further $5 million for highway works east of Foster.

“The Federal Government is not going to fund half of the Black Spur, so Victorian Roads Minister Luke Donnellan needs to kick in more,” Mr O’Brien said.

The total cost of the Black Spur project was initially flagged at $51 million, meaning the State Government must find an extra $6 million for that project, plus another $5 million to match the federal funding for the other highway works.

The latter project was to include roadworks between Foster and Welshpool, and possibly an overtaking lane.

Mr O’Brien said some 15 years ago, VicRoads bought farmland alongside the highway just west of Toora for an overtaking lane and despite that strip of land being fenced off from farmland, the lane is yet to be constructed.

“I have told Mr Donnellan the section of highway between Foster and Toora is the worst in terms of the alignment and having no overtaking lane,” he said.

“I want to see general improvements as well as shoulder sealing and an overtaking lane, and I will continue to agitate for it, as well as the Black Spur.

“If it was not for the intervention of the Federal Government, I suspect it would not be happening.”

The Star asked Mr Donnellan if the State Government believed more funding was needed to ensure the Black Spur eventuated, and if so, if the government was willing to contribute the funding.

He did not answer the questions and stated, “We’re getting on with upgrading the South Gippsland Highway, including the notorious Black Spur, to save lives and reduce the risk of serious injuries.”

David Gellion, VicRoads South Eastern Projects manager project delivery, said the Black Spur project was still going ahead.

“VicRoads has worked closely with local residents and the freight industry to identify the most appropriate route to eliminate dangerous bends and improve driver safety,” he said.
Significant pre-construction works will be carried out before works can begin on ground.

The 2.6km route of the realignment will start south of the Koonwarra township and cross the Great Southern Rail Trail, before crossing the Tarwin River.

The route will re-join the existing highway west of Minns Road.

VicRoads is currently undertaking pre-construction works ahead of construction starting. This includes ensuring all existing approvals are up to date.

Pushing barrow: Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien, in Leongatha recently, will continue to lobby the State Government for roadworks on the South Gippsland Highway.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=21241

Posted by on Apr 26 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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