The upgrade will aim to improve driver safety between Koonwarra and Meeniyan in Victoria.
The upgrade will see nine sharp bends removed and roadside barriers installed, with the total length of the highway reduced from 3.4 kilometres to 2.3 kilometres.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the current bends have contributed to a history of crashes on the highway.
Two bridges will be built over the Tarwin River as part of the upgrade as well as a new underpass for the Great Southern Rail near Caithness Road.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the upgrade would provide significant benefits for drivers who use the highway to travel to popular Victorian tourism destinations such as Wilsons Promontory and Venus Bay.
“This upgrade is a big win for freight and tourism operators who’ll benefit from reduced travel times and the improved reliability of the road network,” Ms. Allan said.
“The realignment will also mean better access to ports in Melbourne, Hastings and Barry’s Beach.”
The awarding of the contract follows the completion of comprehensive environmental assessments to ensure the protection of local vegetation and the environment, particularly the Strzelecki Gum and Australian Grayling.
Extensive cultural heritage salvage investigations have also been recently completed as part of the Cultural Heritage Management Plan that was approved in June 2018.
The cultural heritage salvage works were carried out by local Aboriginal groups and archaeologists to get a better understanding of the cultural and historical significance of the area.
Salvaged artefacts found will be analysed to provide insight into the cultural history of the area.
Major construction is set to start early 2020. The project it jointly funded by the federal and state governments and will be delivered by Major Road Projects Victoria.