SOUTH-WEST motorists will be able to get to Melbourne a little safer and quicker from next week with the last section of the Geelong ring road to open Sunday night.
The five-kilometre piece from Anglesea Road to the Princes Highway near Draytons Road at Pettavel links with the main 26km Waurn Ponds to Corio section.
State Roads Minister Terry Mulder will officially open the last section at 2pm Sunday after a community celebration party and public inspection from noon.
He said workers this week would be applying finishing touches including landscaping and signage.
It will bypass the narrow old highway section through Waurn Ponds Creek.
Great South Coast Group chairman Cr Chris O’Connor, of Terang, said it was pleasing to see government promises carried through to fruition.
“While there was a bit of pain while roadworks were in progress it will provide better access for south-west residents,” he said.
“We will be able to have travelling comforts Gippsland residents have enjoyed for the past 20 years or so.”
The state and federal governments committed more than $1.3 billion to the ring road project and duplication of the highway through to Colac.
Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman said the $220m duplication to Winchelsea was scheduled for completion next year.
He predicted some stages would be opened to traffic progressively during the next 12 months.
“This is a major construction site at the moment with 30 to 40 pieces of equipment building new dual-lane carriageways,” he said.
“Planning is under way for the section through to Colac.
“When finished it will enable motorists to drive from Colac to Gippsland without a single traffic light making the trip much safer.”
Mr Cheeseman said the ring road and duplication were among the largest infrastructure investments in Victoria’s history providing thousands of jobs and a huge stimulation to the economy and tourism.