LIBERAL MP Dan Tehan has promised to bring an end to a long-running funding saga for a dangerous timber road, announcing the Coalition will spend $2.5 million on the Condah-Hotspur Road if elected.
Glenelg Shire Council has been battling to get the cash to restore the stretch of road that struggles to accommodate school buses and timber trucks on the frieght route.
The project has been shovel-ready since June when the state government announced $1.3 million for works but Regional Development Australia (RDA) has so far knocked back requests to pay for the road widening.
“The Condah-Hotspur Road is a key transport corridor for the processing plant at the Myamyn Mill and provides important access to wood plantations in Victoria and South Australia,” Mr Tehan said.
The Coalition’s commitment would pay for roughly half of the project.
“The upgrade project will widen, strengthen and seal 14.05 kilometres of road,” he said.
“Obviously with the heavy rain we’ve had recently, the more help the federal government can give to our local and state governments for roads funding, the better.”
The road has been a languishing priority since 2009 when it was listed as a key recommendation of the Green Triangle Freight Action Plan.
Regional council group, Great South Coast, has also placed it as a top priority.
Premier Denis Napthine welcomed the announcement after coming close to striking an agreement with the Commonwealth earlier this year.
“I am pleased the federal Coalition has committed to adding to the Victorian Coalition government’s contribution of $1.063 million to complete the Condah-Hotspur Road upgrade project, along with the Glenelg Shire and industry funds,” he said.
Glenelg Shire Mayor Karen Stephens said the funding would “take enormous pressure off the Princes Highway.”
“Timber trucks and school buses are not a good mix and there’s no way of passing. If you get off the road you basically sink,” Cr Stephens said.
Around a million tonnes of log are harvested at the nearby Myamyn Mill each year leading to 24,000 truck movements on the road.
South West Fibre and Australian Bluegum Plantations are also putting $371,000 towards the project.