Resurfacing our local road trouble spots

09 May 2018 Mansfield Courier, Mansfield VIC (General News) by Jarrah Loh THE State Government says that Mansfield drivers can look forward to safer, more reliable roads as they launch their regional road maintenance blitz. But state Liberal member for Eildon Cindy McLeish (MLA, Eildon) said that local roads will actually suffer because of cuts in the budget, going as far to call it lunacy. The Victorian budget 2018/19 allocates $941 million toward fixing Victorias regional road network, which includes a specific $56 million in maintenance for our North East region. As part of the blitz, urgently needed repairs are scheduled to be carried out on sections of Midland Highway, as well as dozens of other roads. Across the state more than 1000km of roads are to be repaired, resurfaced or rebuilt. Additionally, local councils will be able to apply to the new $100 million Fixing Country Roads fund. To oversee this new investment, the State Government will establish Regional Roads Victoria (RRV), a new division of VicRoads, based in Ballarat, with staff in regional centres across the state. Were giving country Victorians safer and more reliable roads, Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said. Were making this record investment and establishing Regional Roads Victoria to reduce congestion, improve safety and support primary producers to get their goods to market. The North East will also see important upgrades to connections in the Kiewa Valley Highway, which will be upgraded between Wodonga and Mount Beauty to improve safety, travel times and freight productivity. This massive investment in our local roads will see major upgrades, resurfacing and rebuilds across the North East giving our communities the roads they can rely on, said Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria). Over the last 12 months weve seen an enormous amount of road work across the North East while there is always more to do and road works can be frustrating the Andrews Labor Government is investing in the roads regional communities need. Additionally, last week Ms Symes announced the completion of the first significant upgrade at Woods Point Road for a number of years. Major and much needed resealing works have been completed along a 3.2 kilometre stretch of Woods Point Road at Woods Point. The $450,000 project involved widening the road and applying a new layer over the existing gravel surface. The new surface is supposed to not only improve safety for drivers, but the air quality for locals and the water quality of Lake Eildon. With some sections of this road within three metres of the Goulburn River, the gravel surface resulted in dust and silt entering the waterway. Woods Point Road is now safer and easier to use for the people who rely on it every day, Ms Symes said. Works began in March and the road was reopened to traffic on April 11. However, Ms McLeish was very vocal in her disappointment with the way local roads are being handled. Despite great fanfare and selfadulation, Daniel Andrews is not fixing the country roads as he promised to do in 2014, Ms McLeish said. Buried within the budget we see that spending on repairing regional roads will be cut from $215.3 million in 2017/18 to $165.2 million in 2018/19. It is sheer lunacy that road maintenance would be cut when the surfaces of our roads are continuing to get worse. Ms McLeish also said that local councils will be left in the lurch with only two years worth of funding announced to help upgrade local roads. Daniel Andrews cut the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program when he was elected, but is now bragging about reserving $100 million to help councils with country roads for only two years, Ms McLeish said. A Liberal Nationals Government will provide certainty for local government by delivering $1 million to 40 rural councils each year over four years. This will give local councils the confidence to get on with fixing country roads and saving country lives. Caption Text: BUMPY ROADS: Woods Point Road has been a major trouble spot in the Mansfield Shire.