ANYONE who has travelled on the Princes Highway west of Colac knows it's in a poor state, and now motorists can sign a petition urging state and federal governments to fund much-needed upgrades to the dangerous and dilapidated road.
The Princes Highway West Action Alliance, made up of five south-west councils, has been lobbying strongly for funds for improvements from Colac to Port Fairy.
The Fix It Now! The Great South Coast Deserves a Better Highway! campaign was launched by the alliance to draw attention to the major arterial's need for long overdue works.
The lobby group is calling for $380 million to fully upgrade the highway from Colac to the South Australian border, but have prioritised three key areas requiring immediate attention.
PHWAA spokesman Scott Cavanagh said now was the time to secure funding, with the federal election looming.
The petition has been addressed to 19 key stakeholders, including state Roads Minister Jaala Pulford, Wannon MP Dan Tehan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
He said "it's time to really push home the message that the south-west community deserves better".
"Our community has been incredibly patient, but enough is enough," he said.
"Ask anyone who travels the highway on a regular basis, and they'll tell you just how frustrating and unsafe it is and how most people try and avoid using the Princes Highway at all if they can."
Prominent south-west businesses who regularly use the dangerous Princes Highway have thrown their full support behind improvements to the region's crucial link to Melbourne.
The united campaign by councils has included plenty of fierce commentary from regular users, who say the road is in desperate need of upgrades.
Business operators have shared their concerns and issues with the alliance, and across a range of social media platforms.
Owen Trusses, Bamstone, Ryan's Transport, Warrnambool Bus Lines and Webber and Chivell fertilisers have all joined the push for improvements.
An extensive review was stage one of a total assessment of the 297km stretch of the key Victorian transport corridor between Colac and the South Australian border.
Thirty-nine infrastructure upgrade projects were identified with three highlighted as key priority projects for urgent funding.
- Blue Church intersection west of Colac - $5 million
- Installation of overtaking lanes or '2 +1' infrastructure from Colac to Camperdown - $21m
- Installation of overtaking lanes and duplication through Dennington on the Warrnambool to Port Fairy section of the highway - $60.8 m
"We've done the research, identified priority projects and know the dollars that are required to get the work done," Mr Cavanagh said.
"Now we just need both state and federal governments to recognise that we do deserve better and commit to funding these long overdue upgrades."
The petition says:
The communities of Victoria's Great South Coast have been overlooked long enough.
From Colac to Port Fairy, families and businesses deserve specific and targeted funding for the highway before more lives are lost and the cost to the local economy grows even larger.
We urge you to support this petition to let both state and federal politicians know the Great South Coast deserves better and has had enough.
It's time for action and guaranteed funding! And the time is now!
To sign the petition click here.
For more information about the alliance search for Princes Highway West Action Alliance on Facebook.
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