$5.2m pledge for busy school-timber road

A VITAL but hazardous section of the south-west’s timber transport corridor will be strengthened and widened in a $5.2 million road upgrade.

The state government has locked in a $1.3 million commitment to Condah-Hotspur Road, which carries school buses and timber trucks.

Almost $2.5 million will also be available from the Commonwealth in an upcoming infrastructure program, while Glenelg Shire Council is funding $1.03 million along with  $371,000 from industry 

Visiting Warrnambool yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the upgrade showed regional needs were not going unnoticed.

“While big-ticket projects often get the headlines, our regional communities are not going to be forgotten — our plans for infrastructure investment extend beyond our urban centres,” Mr Truss said.

“As the largest timber plantation region in Australia, timber trucks are closely interacting with school buses and passenger vehicles daily on a road that is just not up to standard.

“Key to this upgrade is strengthening and widening the existing road to improve safety and boost productivity for the local industry.

“For the local economy, addressing capacity issues and improving the efficiency of taking timber to market, including for export, should boost both investment and job opportunities and will increase the international competitiveness of the local industry.

“Almost $2.5 million in Commonwealth funding for the upgrade will be available in the next phase of our Infrastructure Investment Program.”

Premier and member for South West Coast Denis Napthine said he was pleased to reaffirm a commitment to the Condah-Hotspur Road project.

“This project is not only about boosting the productivity of our growing plantation timber industry, it is also about dramatically enhancing safety for school buses, local residents and other road users. Our investment is about increasing the prosperity of this region and in turn the state’s bottom line.

“Projects like this support the local employment base and improve safety on our roads, as well as connect regional townships and communities to further local opportunities.”

The confirmed commitment has instilled a sense of achievement in member for Wannon Dan Tehan, who outlined the project as an election promise.

“I made this promise to the people of Wannon and getting the road fixed is a testament to the determination of the local community I stand for,” Mr Tehan said.

“Once final planning is complete the upgrade will get under way along the entire length of the road between the townships of Condah and Hotspur and the Crawford River bridge.

“This is part of my pledge to get more federal dollars into our local roads.”

The Condah-Hotspur Road upgrade is expected to begin in the second half of the year and will be completed by early 2016.

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