MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (10:02:09): Last week I had the opportunity to take a close look at a project that will improve road usage not only for locals from Colac and its region but for all who use the Princes Highway through western Victoria. The replacement of Colac’s 80-year-old Barongarook Creek bridge is part of a major upgrade duplicating the highway between Winchelsea and Colac. We now have a modern bridge designed not only for heavy vehicles but for multipurpose use, including safe, dedicated paths for cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge project ran from May, requiring installation of a temporary bridge, and is now in its concluding phase—installing safety barriers and safety lighting, final asphalt surfacing and landscaping. This part of the Princes Highway is a vital link between Melbourne and western Victoria and beyond. Much of the large vehicle traffic passing along this highway has its origin interstate or in other areas of regional Victoria. In the three weeks since the new Colac bridge was opened, more than 270 000 cars, trucks and bikes have used it—that is 91 000 per week, including 7500 trucks, around 18 per cent of its traffic. This highway upgrade project, including the bridge replacement, provided jobs for over 100 people at its peak. I am very pleased to see that the bridge construction team has provided not just jobs but meaningful career paths for workers and has produced really positive outcomes for Indigenous workers. I particularly enjoyed the insights gleaned from conversations with the team who built the Barongarook Creek bridge, VEC Civil Engineering, and particularly Owen Cavanough. I congratulate everyone involved. This is a fantastic project.
Tags: Members Statement