The pending completion of the realignment of the Black Spur section of the South Gippsland Highway between Koonwarra and Meeniyan is a win for dedicated locals who have campaigned for decades.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, is celebrating the forthcoming conclusion of works now that the road is open and will soon be fully completed.
“This is a project that has been a long time in the making. When campaigning for it some years ago, a local in Meeniyan told me that it had been promised 20 years earlier.
“I’m absolutely delighted that the local campaign that I have backed has finally delivered this important project that will boost road safety and freight and travel efficiency in our region.”
Mr O’Brien said many locals had helped him in the campaign and deserved credit for the project being funded.
“It was my Federal colleague, Darren Chester as Minister for Infrastructure in the Federal Government who came to me in 2016 seeking advice on projects across the region.
“The State Government held $1.3 billion dollars of federal funding earmarked for the now cancelled East-West Link and Mr Chester was determined that a significant proportion of this funding would go to regional road projects.
“He subsequently committed $25 million to the Black Spur project which got the ball rolling and allowed us to then campaign for matching state funding.
“To their credit the State Labor Government provided that later in the year and the project was finally in progress.”
Mr O’Brien said it was disappointing that the project had blown out to $115 million and taken several years longer than planned but nonetheless it is now almost complete.
“This is a great victory for persistence and local campaigning, backed by strong local Nationals voices in Parliament.
“I’m very pleased to see this work coming to an end and I know many locals will appreciate the new works which include two new bridges and remove nine sharp corners on the existing highway.
“I look forward to continuing to deliver on other important road projects throughout Gippsland.”