New overtaking lane opens on Western Highway

The new Melbourne-bound overtaking lane on the Western Highway at Kiata has been completed and is now open to traffic

March 11, 2013

The new Melbourne-bound overtaking lane on the Western Highway at Kiata has been completed and is now open to traffic.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the new $1.8 million, 1.2km long overtaking lane will give motorists another opportunity to pass slower moving vehicles safely.

He says the project is one of a number of improvements being made to the highway.

"Despite being the nation’s second busiest highway, the Western Highway had for too long been neglected and starved of much needed funding," Albanese says.

"That’s why we are investing an unprecedented $500 million to maintain and upgrade it, which is more than four times what our predecessors spent during their entire twelve years in office.

Other recently completed upgrades include the strengthening of the bridges over the rail line at Wail and Kaniva, upgrades to the rest areas at Deep Lead and Pink Lake, construction of a new trailer exchange outside Nhill and installation of intelligent transport system signs.

Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder says the overtaking lane at Kiata is one of 11 being installed on the Western Highway.

"Overtaking lanes have already been constructed at Dimboola as well as to the east and west of Kaniva, with work underway right now on a further two near Pimpinio. We also expect work to begin soon on yet more overtaking lanes between Horsham and Dimboola," he says.

"What’s more, the upgrade of the Wimmera River bridges at Horsham will begin shortly too."

Mulder says new overtaking lanes will reduce travel times for freight vehicles.

"Between Stawell and the South Australian border the traffic volume ranges from 2,500 to 4,000 vehicles per day in the rural sections between rural towns. This can escalate to as high as 23,000 vehicles per day where the highway passes through Horsham," Mulder says.

"Commercial vehicles account for 50 percent of the total traffic as the highway nears the SA border, increasing to 70 percent during the night."

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