Saturday, December 6, 2008

Funding for road upgrade brought forward - TheAge

The $2.25 billion upgrade to Melbourne's Western Ring Road will commence six months ahead of schedule to help boost the national economy during the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

The overall upgrade will add extra lanes and enhance traffic management systems and improve traffic flow on the 38 kilometre road between the Princes Freeway in Laverton North and the Greensborough Freeway, Greensborough.

In Melbourne on Saturday, Mr Rudd said the federal government committed $900 million at the last election towards the project and has brought forward $5 million in the 2008-09 budget for construction to begin immediately.

The early works will commence on the extra Altona-bound lane from the Deer Park Bypass to Boundary Road and is expected to be complete by mid-2009.

Mr Rudd said bringing the project forward was important stimulus for the economy during the financial crisis.

"Good infrastructure, but also at a time like this, (is) a good investment in the national economy," he said.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said his government was delighted with the announcement.

"This road, which so many Victorians use every day, will be immeasurably improved by the bringing forward of funding and the substantial investment that we are partnering together today," Mr Brumby said.

The road currently carries up to 142,000 vehicles a day, of which 16 per cent is freight traffic.

The upgrade is also expected to help improve safety for motorists on a road that has seen nine fatal and 750 casualty crashes in the past five years.

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