A NUMBER of south-west roads will be upgraded with an $80 million commitment from the federal government.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was in Warrnambool to make the announcement on Monday.
The roads that will be upgraded include Princes Highway West - from Colac to the South Australian border, the Henty Highway, the Portland-Nelson Road and the Portland-Casterton Road.
Mr McCormack said the roads would become roads of strategic importance.
"Victoria's south-west region is made up of critical freight access between industrial regions and remote communities, both state capital cities and key ports including the Port of Portland," he said.
"This funding will address pinch points and other impediments to freight movements in the region to improve travel times and reduce freight costs, providing a significant boost to the local economy."
Mr McCormack said he hoped the upgrades would commence soon.
Princes Highway West Action Alliance (PHWAA) spokesman Scott Cavanagh said the funding was welcome news, but the group was waiting to find out details about where the improvements would be made.
"Our concern is we know how much work is needed to improve the highway in this area, particularly between Colac and Port Fairy," Mr Cavanagh said.
"As a group we are committed to keep pushing for what we know our community deserves."
The alliance has identified three key projects it hopes will be funded.
These include duplicating the Princes Highway between Warrnambool and Port Fairy at a cost of $60.8 million, improving the notorious 'blue church' intersection near Pirron Yallock at a cost of $5 million and duplicating the highway between Colac and Camperdown at a cost of $21 million
"We hope a large portion of the funding will go towards these projects," Mr Cavanagh said..
Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the upgrades would also improve safety and access for the many regional and remote communities across the region.
"These upgrades will help ensure our local communities have more reliable access to essential services including healthcare and education."
Mr Tehan said the roads were not designed for the high performing freight vehicles and volume of traffic that was using them.
"By providing better and safer road access, this investment will also promote more opportunities for tourism in this fantastic region of Victoria."
Mr Tehan called on the state government to also invest in the upgrades.
"We will be calling on the state government to at a minimum invest 20 per cent to match the Commonwealth funding," he said.
"Ideally we would love them to match it and if they match it that's a $160 million immediate investment into these key roads in south-west Victoria."
The announcement comes after the Princes Highway Action Alliance called on the government to make a $300 million investment into the highway back in November 2018.
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