By Luke Voogt
The long-awaited duplication of Barwon Heads Road has moved a step closer with preliminary works underway for construction to begin in October.
This month crews will continue road widening, boundary fencing, utility relocations and site establishment works in preparation for the duplication.
According to both state and federal governments, the duplication will create 500 local jobs and about 1400 indirect jobs.
“Projects like this are vital to our local economic recovery,” South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman said.
In a joint statement today state and federal governments announced a trio of construction companies, Decmil, BMD Constructions and BildGroup, would build the project in partnership with Major Road Projects Victoria.
The first upgrade will add new lanes for about four kilometres of Barwon Heads Road between Settlement and Reserve roads.
The works also include a new bridge to replace a “dangerous” level crossing at Marshall, improving safety and traffic flow, and upgrades to intersections at Settlement and Breakwater roads.
Crews will also install new traffic signals Crows, Barwarre, Marshalltown and Reserve roads.
Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the upgrade would help ensure Barwon Heads Road could cater for 44,000 daily journeys expected by 2031.
Ms Allan said the duplication was part of a suite of major projects in greater Geelong, which has the largest population growth in regional Victoria.
Federal Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the upgrade would improve traffic flow on the crucial link between Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and the growing Armstrong Creek area.
The upgrade also includes on-road cycling lanes and an off-road shared pedestrian and cycling paths, allowing better connections to Waurn Ponds Trail, South Barwon Reserve, Belmont Common and the Barwon River.
Federal Victorian senator Sarah Henderson said the much-needed upgrade would reduce travel times and improve safety for students and cyclists through better pathways and cycling lanes.
According to both governments, the upgrade is being delivered through a “new partnership approach” to road building contracts, meaning “major projects move from paper to pavement sooner”.
This approach was supported by federal government’s fast-tracking of the assessment and approval phases, to speed up the release of funding.