Funds to deliver better roads

By Benalla Ensign

VicRoads has listened to our communities and businesses who have told us loud and clear that our roads are not up to scratch to support the growing north east.

The big takeaways from VicRoads’ community discussions in the north east last year — from Seymour to Yarrawonga and Wodonga — was that our roads need to keep up with increased tourism, population and industry, and that safety was a critical concern for drivers and cyclists.

VicRoads has also been going through the 300-plus submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Country Roads, and listening to the frank and important feedback.

Our country roads need an overhaul and that is what they are now getting, with $333 million in the State Budget to rebuild and repair regional roads and a new dedicated team to deliver it.

From upgrading the Kiewa Valley Hwy, Great Alpine Rd and Murray Valley Hwy, to planning for the Shepparton Alternative Route and Hume Fwy access at Wodonga — our roads will be made safer and fit for purpose with $37million of improvements in the north east alone.

The need to work much more closely with local government has also been heard, with a $100 million fund to rebuild and resurface local essential roads.

It is not only about more money though.

The new authority for regional roads — Regional Roads Victoria — will help address decades of underinvestment and inattention, overseeing $27.4million of road maintenance in the north east.

Championing the needs of country Victoria, it will give rural and regional Victorians a direct line of communications to VicRoads, and a clear focus on making the network safe and fit for a growing tourism, agribusiness and innovation economy.

Instead of looking at roads or bridges in isolation, we’re better understanding regional priorities and unlocking jobs and investment.

People in the north east deserve roads they can rely on, and this investment will make sure the roads are safer and more reliable than ever before.