Keeping Victoria moving23/04/2018
Improving regional roads and rail was front of mind for many attending Assemblies in 2016 (and 2017) and a priority for many Partnerships in their first year.
The Victorian Government listened to Partnerships, and to the many others in this space, and, in the 2017/18 State Budget, delivered with an investment of $556.4 million in regional roads, while for rail, there was the announcement of the Regional Rail Revival program, a joint Victorian and Australian government initiative.
Driving forward regional roads
The 2017/18 regional roads investment covers projects across the state with work already underway including:
- Investigating options for the Rutherglen Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route. An Origin and Destination Study to understand travel movements around Rutherglen has been completed; meetings with key stakeholders and the community will start shortly;
- Works have now commenced on the Great Alpine Road with shoulder sealing between Porepunkah and Harrietville expected to begin in May. A contribution to the construction of a new roundabout in Myrtleford at the intersection of the Great Alpine Road and Standish Street has been delivered by Alpine Shire Council. Slow vehicle turnout bay at Dungeys Hollow on the Great Alpine Road at Mt Hotham is completed;
- Community engagement was undertaken at the end of 2017 to discuss safety upgrades on the Murray Valley Highway between Echuca and Yarrawonga (a joint Victorian Government/Australian Government funded project with $10 million from each);
- Planning for stage 1 of the long-awaited Shepparton bypass ($10.2 million was allocated for this project in the 2017/18 State Budget and is going towards planning of the Shepparton – Mooroopna second river crossing, pre-construction work including detailed design and strategic land acquisition and early construction activities; estimated completion date for this stage is 2019. A community information session was held in Shepparton in late March attended by approximately 130 residents;
- Improvement works, such as shoulder sealing, road widening, and safety barrier installation, on key roads in Gippsland such as The Great Alpine Road, Monaro Highway, Highland Highway and Princes Highway East.
Regional rail revival on track
The once-in-a-generation $1.7 billion Regional Rail Revival program will upgrade stations, signalling and track across Victoria, delivering major upgrades to every regional passenger line in the state and creating more than 1,000 jobs.
Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) is responsible for the planning and implementation of the program on behalf of the Victorian Government, with planning work already well underway. MMRA will work with key stakeholders including local councils and communities as planning and implementation progresses on the project over the coming months.
Among the projects are the North East Corridor Upgrade which will enable more modern VLocity trains to run to Albury/ Wodonga for the first time, meaning a faster, more comfortable trip to north east Victoria.
This will bring the North East corridor into line with other parts of Victoria’s regional passenger network and enable faster running times for the twice-daily service between Sydney and Melbourne.
The North East Corridor Upgrade includes:
- track upgrades from Melbourne to Albury/Wodonga to at least Victorian Class 2 standard
- supporting infrastructure for VLocity trains
- upgrading Donnybrook and Wallan stations.
The Regional Rail Revival program also includes $10 million to plan the Shepparton freight network.