THE Western Highway duplication pre-construction works between Ararat and Stawell are set to receive $10 million.
The money is part of a $13-million allocation announced in the state budget on Wednesday for works on the Western Highway between Ararat and Stawell, and the Princes Highway East between Traralgon and Sale.
Ararat Mayor Paul Hooper said his council was still waiting for a firm commitment from the state government to fully fund the Ararat to Stawell section of the highway, along with money for the Beaufort bypass and the Ararat bypass.
“We are meeting Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport Darren Chester tomorrow to continue lobbying efforts with the chairman of the Western Highway committee,” Cr Hooper said.
“This is for the next stage of funding, which includes Ararat to Stawell, the Ararat bypass and the Beaufort bypass.”
Northern Grampians Shire councillor and Western Highway Action Committee chairman Kevin Erwin said the money would be spent on preparations for the eventual duplication of the highway between Stawell and Ararat.
“The money will be spent on geo-tech and environmental and cultural heritage works and there’s some funding there for community consultation as well,” he said.
Cr Erwin said the announcement showed the state government was committed to the Western Highway duplication project.
“Fingers crossed for a larger funding announcement next year,” he said.
Cr Erwin estimated the cost of duplicating the highway at about $320 million.
He said the project would need to receive both state and federal funding to proceed.
“Typically, the funding allocation is 20 per cent from the state and 80 per cent from the federal government,” he said.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan officially opened the 21-kilometre section of duplicated Western Highway between Beaufort and Buangor last week.
Earlier this month the state government called for expressions of interest for the duplication of the highway from Buangor to Ararat.
The state has committed $662.3 million to the upgrade of the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell.