At VTA State Conference 2023, Minister for Ports and Freight, Melissa Horne, addressed the impacts to Victoria’s road network following the devastating floods last year.
Under the theme of People First – Managing Transport’s Greatest Asset, VTA State Conference 2023 brought together key members of the industry to improve and enhance supply chain capability while addressing labour shortages.
At the event, Horne highlighted the importance of keeping Victoria’s road network reliable.
“Potholes are a serious threat to the efficiency of the network and for the productivity of your industry,” she said.
“If we accept that roads are a key economic generator, we must also accept that road maintenance is a critical component of that process, and that’s why we’ve been really quick to prioritise repairs to the road network.”
Horne said nearly half of the $351 million package helping regional Victorian communities recover from the flood has been allocated to road repairs.
“$165 million emergency road repair billings has been finding and fixing potholes, asphalting and repairing road surfaces challenged by last spring’s weather,” she said.
“Right across the states, crews have been completing all the 937 kilometres of flood recovery activities, ranging from clearing debris and drainage to rebuilding repair works.”
And, according to Horne, a further 119 kilometres of work is underway.
“It’s a pretty remarkable achievement in getting roads back into a fit state and their normal speed limits,” she said.
“We want to better prepare the network for the future.”
Horne said the Government is also about to rebuild two key freight routes in the southwest of the state, which the VTA have been vocal about for a number of years.
“Some of these roads are at a point where they’re affecting the productivity of the local dairy and timber industry,” she said.
“That’s why we’ll be targeting four sections of the Glenelg and Hamilton highways in the coming weeks.
“We’ve already begun working on a section of the Glenelg Highway, east of Hamilton, and will soon begin to reveal a session between Casterton and Coleraine.”
The Hamilton Highway rebuild will include a 3.5-kilometre section between Mortlake and Darlington, and a second section at Hexam.
“In total we will be investing $780 million on more than 1,300 road maintenance projects across Victoria this financial year.
“This regional road maintenance blitz will ensure smoother, more reliable journeys along these major highways which predominantly serve as prime freight routes as well.”