The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has renewed calls for road improvements on the South Gippsland Highway between Foster and Yarram, including the addition of a long-awaited overtaking lane.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr O’Brien said land was purchased around 20 years ago to allow for an overtaking lane between Foster and Toora but that the project has remained unfunded.
“A short drive out to the west of Toora will take you to a long narrow stretch of fenced land set aside for an overtaking lane that never happened,” Mr O’Brien said.
“There are a number of overtaking lanes between Nyora and Foster, but there is nothing from Foster onwards to Yarram.
“With over 50 kilometres of highway between the towns, it is quite a distance to travel.
“The stretch from Foster to Toora is windy and frequented by milk trucks, logging trucks and people towing boats and caravans with little opportunity to safely overtake.”
Mr O’Brien said an opportunity to improve the highway east of Foster had been missed due to the financial blow-out on the current works at the Black Spur bends.
“The realignment of the Black Spur bends is a great project that I fought for for years and years, and the community has been after for a long time.
“It was my federal colleague Darren Chester who provided the funding at that time, as the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, which was ultimately matched by the then Victorian Roads Minister.
“The $50 million project was then to proceed with $40 million to go to the Black Spur realignment and a further $10 million for improvements between Meeniyan and Yarram – this did not occur because that project blew out to $115 million.
“The South Gippsland Highway is the key arterial through South Gippsland and in need of much improvement. Additional works to improve the road must be undertaken including completing the overtaking lane at Toora which has been 20 years in the making.”