The new Melbourne-bound overtaking lane on the Western Highway at Kiata has been completed and is now open to traffic, giving motorists another opportunity to pass slower moving vehicles safely.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the new $1.8 million, 1.2 kilometre long overtaking lane is one of a number of improvements being made along this vital section of the National Network.
“Despite being the nation’s second busiest highway, the Western Highway had for too long been neglected and starved of much needed funding,” said Mr Albanese.
“That’s why we are investing an unprecedented $500 million to maintain and upgrade it, which is more than four times what our predecessors spent during their entire twelve years in office.
“Together with the Victorian Government, we are determined to build a better, safer Western Highway.”
Other recently completed improvements include the strengthening of the bridges over the rail line at Wail and Kaniva; upgrades to the rest areas at Deep Lead and Pink Lake; construction of a new trailer exchange outside Nhill; and installation of Intelligent Transport System signs.
Victorian Public Transport and Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the project involved earthworks, pavement construction and sealing, linemarking, installation of signs and the laying of reflective markers.
“This is just one of eleven new overtaking lanes being installed along the Western Highway,” said Mr Mulder.
“Between Stawell and the South Australian border the traffic volume ranges from 2,500 to 4,000 vehicles per day in the rural sections between rural towns. This can escalate to as high as 23,000 vehicles per day where the highway passes through Horsham.
“Commercial vehicles account for 50% of the total traffic as the highway nears the SA border, increasing to 70% during the night.
“Works such as these will result in a reduction in travel time for freight vehicles, giving the area a real productivity boost.
“Overtaking large, slower moving vehicles such as trucks and caravans can be dangerous and difficult. When overtaking, drivers require a clear view of the road ahead and adequate time to safely pass.
“This new overtaking lane at Kiata will give motorists an extra opportunity to pass slower moving vehicles safely.
“Overtaking lanes have already been constructed at Dimboola as well as to the east and west of Kaniva, with work underway right now on a further two near Pimpinio. We also expect work to begin soon on yet more overtaking lanes between Horsham and Dimboola.
“What’s more, the upgrade of the Wimmera River bridges at Horsham will begin shortly too.”