A THREE-lane Princes Highway is being investigated by VicRoads in an effort to meet the demands of the south-west’s traffic woes.
The idea, which has the backing of the Great South Coast Group, would create one passing lane which alternated between west-bound and east-bound traffic.
Known as the 2+1 concept, it has been used successfully in Sweden and would involve constructing a third lane from Colac to the South Australian border.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said a 2+1 trial by VicRoads had been discussed with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss last week.
He said Mr Truss raised the issue of spending money to get three lanes, with the ultimate aim of possibly four lanes.
Mr Tehan said he would like to see VicRoads research the 2+1 concept.
“I’d like to see a trial,” he said. “Ultimately we have got to be sure it will work and that there is a cost effective way of delivering it.
“I’m not against it, I just want more information and more consultation. I think the idea of a trial is a good one.”
Yesterday, VicRoads said it was looking at the 2+1 design along with other options to increase the safety and operation of the Princes Highway between Colac and the South Australian border.
VicRoads South Western Region acting regional director Scott Lawrence said a review of the options was under way to finalise its proposal in the coming months.
“Any proposals for road improvements will be considered with other funding priorities in a future program,” he said.
Great South Coast chairman and Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor said he would welcome investment in the concept and a trial would be a positive step.
He said he had not been notified of any trial but the idea had been proven to improve road safety and could handle heavy traffic.
Cr O’Connor said research showed a dual highway would cost $12 million per kilometre, while the cost of the 2+1 project was between $3 million to $4 million per kilometre.
Meanwhile, Mr Tehan said it had become clear in talks with Mr Truss that it was no longer essential the Princes Highway from Geelong to Adelaide was declared a road of national importance.
He said in recent years Commonwealth funding for roads had changed and so many roads which were not listed as of national importance were receiving funds.
He said the most important thing was to ensure work on the duplication between Winchelsea and Colac was completed on time and on budget.