ARARAT - Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips today announced $80,000 worth of improvements to the intersection at Vincent Street and Western Highway (High Street), as part of $17.7 million in funding from the Victorian Coalition Government to treat and improve 26 high risk roads and intersections across Victoria.
The Victorian Coalition Government has invested $1 billion over 10 years for the Safer Road Infrastructure Program (SRIP), a key initiative of Victoria's Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan. SRIP is funded through the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and is delivered by VicRoads.
"The Western Highway is a vital route between Melbourne and Adelaide and this intersection carries approximately 8,000 vehicles per day, including locals, visitors and increasingly the freight industry," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"This new $80,000 investment in SRIP funding for Ararat will deliver better safety outcomes for road users, helping everyone complete their journeys and return home safely," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Liberal Candidate for Ripon Louise Staley and Nationals Candidate Scott Turner welcomed today's announcement.
Ms Staley said while the intersection is controlled by traffic lights, Western Highway drivers approaching the intersection have difficulty seeing the signals in morning and afternoon sunlight.
"This project will include installing overhead traffic lights on both approaches to the intersection to make the signals more visible to Western Highway traffic, and extending the traffic islands in Vincent Street to improve driver awareness of the intersection," Ms Staley said.
Mr Turner also welcomed the funding announcement, especially in light of the number of crashes that have occurred at the location. In the five year period ending 30 December 2012, there had been four casualty crashes at the intersection.
"This project will complement upgrades already underway on the Western Highway between Ballarat and the South Australian border, including $505 million to duplicate the highway between Ballarat and Stawell, with construction to Buangor and almost $50 million in upgrades beyond Stawell to the border, such as new overtaking lanes, new rest areas, improvements to existing rest areas, bridge strengthening and intersection upgrades," Mr Turner said.
Mr Rich-Phillips said the Victorian Coalition Government is building a better Victoria by delivering vital safety upgrades to the regional road network through SRIP.
"SRIP funding is used for targeted projects which improve roads, roadsides and infrastructure like signs, traffic signals, lighting and kerb improvements, to reduce the risk and severity of 'run-off road' crashes or crashes at intersections. In the past year more than $109 million has been approved for 95 projects across the state," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"An initial $17.7 million funding injection across Victoria, with $14 million of this spent on 16 regional projects, will increase the number of projects to 121 and represents more than $127 million in road safety improvements, with further investments in additional projects to be announced in coming months."
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.
"The Coalition Government is committed to reducing the road toll and the number of deaths on Victorian roads is at a 90 year low. We are also focused on reducing serious injuries," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"The Ministerial Road Safety Council and the agencies - Victoria Police, the Department of Justice, the TAC and VicRoads - have made this a major focus and the Road Safety Strategy has set a targeted reduction of 30 per cent in serious injuries."