THE Great Ocean Road is getting a massive injection of funding to keep being great, with next week’s State Budget to include $272.4 million to upgrade the road itself as well as its inland routes.
The upgrades will also improve key roads which support the dairy industry in Victoria’s south-west.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll, South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman and Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney announced the budget commitment at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch at Eastern View on Tuesday this week.
The funding includes $140 million to upgrade and improve the resilience of the Great Ocean Road so it can continue carrying millions of people each year.
The works will ensure the road remains strong, such as rebuilding road pavement, bridge strengthening, geotechnical works, and safety upgrades.
Another $115 million will be invested into upgrading the inland routes between the Great Ocean Road and the Princes Highway West, which are important connections for the tourism and freight industries as well as local communities.
These upgrades will include pavement widening and rebuilding works so roads are stronger and smoother, as well as the construction of retaining walls to reduce the risk of landslips.
$17.4 million will also be invested in priority roads which support the Barwon South West Dairy Supply Chain, including rebuilding, resurfacing and widening roads, strengthening or replacing bridges and planning for future upgrades.
This will allow the routes to carry heavier vehicles, providing more efficient transport from depots, farms and processors.
“The Great Ocean Road is an iconic Victorian attraction which brings millions of visitors to the region each year and is the lifeline for a number of communities along the coast,” Mr Carroll said.
“This will deliver stronger, safer and more reliable roads for locals, tourists and the freight industry – it will help to boost the region’s economic recovery following the pandemic.”
Mr Cheeseman said the Great Ocean Road was iconic and globally recognised as the most spectacular coastal touring road in the world.
“This investment will help support local communities and tourists visiting and experiencing our spectacular coastline. This investment will make the road safer for locals and visitors alike.”
The new projects follow the Victorian Government’s $53 million package of geotechnical works that started on the Great Ocean Road in 2017 to keep the road accessible by reducing the risk of landslips or rockfalls.