AYRFORD Road residents are hoping a spate of crashes along a narrow section of the route will be a thing of the past after a $300,000 upgrade.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder announced the improvement work would be completed along a busy section of the road, west of Terang, by the end of the year.
The funding comes after years of campaigning by Corangamite Shire and residents concerned about safety along the section which is used by about 300 vehicles each day, including 50 commercial vehicles such as school buses.
Mr Mulder, who is the member for Polwarth, said the money would be spent to strengthen and seal the shoulders of the road on a section between the Princes Highway and the Cobden-Warrnambool Road.
Mr Mulder said that five accidents, including two serious crashes, had been reported in a five-year period from 2009 to the end of last year.
“This road is regularly used by commuter traffic and freight vehicles, including milk tankers, all year round,” Mr Mulder said.
“When heavy vehicles drive over the unsealed shoulders on the narrow road, the momentum of the vehicle causes significant erosion.”
He said some drivers then became wary of moving over on to the eroded area when they were confronted by an oncoming vehicle along the narrow section.
“By improving the strength and the surface of the road shoulders, it will reduce the chance of vehicles losing control, improving safety.”
Mayor Chris O’Connor welcomed the funding, saying it was a good result for locals who had been strongly advocating VicRoads and the government for improvements.
Cr O’Connor said the rough shoulders were very dangerous, particularly with the number of cars, trucks and B-doubles using Ayrford Road as a link from the highway to the coast.
Preliminary testing and investigation works will take place in the coming weeks, with road work expected to begin in spring and be completed by the end of the year.
VicRoads said the road would remain open to traffic during the work, with changed traffic conditions as required.