DRIVERS will benefit after another 21 kilometres of the new duplicated Western Highway opened to traffic on Wednesday.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester announced the opening of 15 kilometres of new lanes.
It includes two lanes in each direction between Beaufort and Buangor as well as a six-kilometre bypass of the Buangor. The works are part of the $662.3 million federal and state government-funded project.
Mr Chester said adding to 34 kilometres of already upgraded road was a significant milestone for the upgrade.
“The Western Highway is the main road link between Melbourne and Adelaide, so these upgrades mean safer, more efficient transport and trade between the two cities,” he said.
Victorian Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said works were also underway to duplicate the road between Buangor and Ararat.
“With the Expressions of Interest called for the duplication of the highway between Buangor and Ararat, motorists will be able to drive from Melbourne to Ararat more reliably and efficiently,” she said.
“Work to upgrade local roads and access points will continue in both the Buangor township and Beaufort to Buangor section.”
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the Western Highway upgrades were critical for supporting the key transport corridor through Victoria’s western district.
“Significant industries in Western Victoria, such as farming and grain production, will welcome more reliable travel times on the Western Highway because of these upgrades,” he said.
“The upgrades will also boost travel to tourist sites such as Halls Gap in the Grampians and the Pyrenees area.
“The improvements will improve safety and enhance the amenity of Buangor.”
The federal government will give $501.3 million and the state government $161 million to the project.
State Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said the news lanes and overtaking opportunities will improve safety.