Jun 14, 2009

Geelong Ring Road open & all clear to Waurn Ponds

Geelong Ring Road open & all clear to Waurn Ponds

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

14 June 2009

Drivers travelling between Melbourne and Victoria’s Surf Coast can complete quicker, safer and easier trips all the way to the Princes Highway at Waurn Ponds – and not face a single traffic light – with a celebration today to mark the opening of Stage 3 of the Geelong Ring Road.

Premier John Brumby officially opened the 7.5 kilometre stage of the Geelong Ring Road with Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas, Federal Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman and the Geelong community at the open day celebration.

Mr Brumby said Stage 3 completed the 23-kilometre link between Corio and Waurn Ponds, allowing drivers to avoid 30 sets of traffic lights and complete the journey in under 15 minutes.

“The Victorian Labor Government, in partnership with the Rudd Labor Government, is taking action now to improve Victoria’s roads, investing in important projects to reduce congestion, create jobs and deliver a world-class transport network,” Mr Brumby said.

“With this latest section of the Ring Road now open, local people and visitors can travel for almost 90 kilometres between Melbourne and this beautiful region on a safe, high-standard freeway link without seeing a single red light.

“This opening is six months ahead of the original December 2009 completion date and it’s been only six months since we opened the first 15 kilometre section of the Ring Road through to the Hamilton Highway at Fyansford.

“The Geelong Ring Road project is vital to securing Geelong’s future and further opening up the region to Melbourne. It’s delivering the right infrastructure to support population growth, generate jobs and drive investment.“

Federal Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman said early completion of the Ring Road to Waurn Ponds would deliver immediate benefits for people living and working in the region.

“This will change the way people and industry move in and around this region, improving freight viability, tourism and road safety,” Mr Cheeseman said.

“Importantly, by opening the Ring Road six months early and in time for winter, drivers can travel on the safer freeway route avoiding the many intersections and distractions of the highway through Geelong during the more hazardous winter months.”

Mr Cheeseman said that the Ring Road had and would continue to create jobs and economic growth to help build the nation and support prosperity in the current economic climate.

“Through the Rudd Government’s Nation Building initiatives we are working with state governments on key infrastructure projects to drive our economy for the long term,” he said.

“The Ring Road and associated critical transport links are essential to supporting key industries and companies such as Ford in Geelong. Better transport access will also enhance productivity and international competitiveness for export industries and rural producers shipping through the Port of Geelong.”

Mr Pallas said the new stretch of road, which skirts Geelong’s western fringe, meant traffic would no longer have to travel through the city, improving local traffic flows.

“This Ring Road opening is an historic day for Geelong and one we’ll look back on in 20 or 30 years to consider how the region and city has grown and changed for the better,” Mr Pallas said.

“There’s more good news to come in the near future as well, with works continuing for a direct link from the Ring Road to Anglesea Road to be completed next year, while planning is well advanced for new connections to the Surf Coast and Princes Highways.

To date, about $618 million has been committed to the Geelong Ring Road project with the Victorian Government contributing $321.5 million and the Commonwealth Government providing $293 million.