The 2018/19 Victorian Budget will allocate a record $941 million towards fixing Victoria’s regional road network and establishing a dedicated country roads body.
Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) will be a new division of VicRoads based in Ballarat, with staff based in regional centres across the state.
Led by a Chief Regional Roads Officer, RRV will oversee a $333 million boost to road maintenance, with more than 1,000 kilometres of roads to be repaired, resurfaced or rebuilt across the state, according to a statement from the Victorian Government.
In addition to the maintenance spend, a $100 million Fixing Country Roads fund will be established to provide grants to rural and regional councils to fix their local roads.
The state government is also investing further $229 million through the Towards Zero Road Safety Action Plan, aimed at introducing new overtaking lanes, rumble strips and intersection upgrades.
The Budget also includes $98 million for planning and pre-construction of new bypasses on the Western Highway at Beaufort and Ararat, as well as $40 million to upgrade the Princes Highway West between Colac and the South Australian border.
Key sections of the Calder Highway, Hamilton Highway and the Kiewa Valley Highway will be upgraded to improve safety, travel times and freight productivity.
“As someone who grew up in country Victoria, I know how important safe and reliable roads are for regional communities,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.
“This ground-breaking investment will upgrade regional roads right across the state – and for the first time give our regional road network the direct attention it deserves,” he said.