Major works on the Barwon Heads Road Upgrade have been completed six months ahead of schedule, providing local drivers, pedestrians and cyclists with safer, more reliable road travel much sooner than expected.
The $365 million project has added approximately 4km of extra lanes between Belmont and Charlemont to help cater for an anticipated 44,000 daily journeys by 2031.
The project was made possible through a $292 million Federal Government commitment, alongside $73 million from the Victorian Government.
Other improvements include intersection upgrades, 4km of new shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists, the removal of a level crossing and its replacement with a bridge over Marshall’s rail line.
The completion announcement follows the opening of the Geelong-bound carriageway – over the bridge at Marshall – on 24 May. The opening marked the first time traffic could flow in both directions for the full length of the upgrade since early works began in July 2021.
As crews undertake landscaping and other finishing touches along the project, there may be some lane closures on Barwon Heads Road outside peak travel times.
Crews will return later in the year when temperatures and weather conditions support the placement of a final layer of asphalt.
All intersection upgrades are complete, and the shared-use path is set for completion in mid-July.
To meet the increased demand, the second stage of the Barwon Heads Road Upgrade will improve Barwon Heads Road from Reserve Road, Charlemont, to Lower Duneed Road, ensuring this important arterial link between Geelong and the Bellarine caters to the fast-growing Armstrong Creek urban growth corridor.
The stage one upgrade has created more than 570 local jobs and generated a further 1,419 indirect jobs, providing a crucial boost to the region’s recovery post-COVID-19.
Crews have also:
- Worked 681,438 labour hours – equivalent to 374 years of standard annual working weeks
- Removed 144,013t of materials – equivalent in weight to 2,323 E-class trams
- Laid 57,576t of asphalt – equivalent in weight to 10,662 Indian elephants
- Installed 10,176m of guardrail – equivalent in length to nearly 2,000 dual-cab utes
- Planted more than 118,000 native plants
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said this upgrade will have long-term benefits for residents, businesses and visitors.
“It is an important investment in vital infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing community of the Geelong region now and into the future,” Ms King said.
Federal Member for Corangamite, Libby Coker, said that the Barwon Heads Road Upgrade will boost capacity and remove a key traffic bottleneck for locals travelling between Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula for work, school, weekend sport, and importantly, for emergency services.
“It will also support the fast-growing Armstrong Creek urban growth area and ensure visitors can travel safely across our region,” Ms Coker said.
“We recognise how important this upgrade is for so many people – that’s why the State and Federal government will continue working together to get the second stage of the upgrade underway as soon as possible.”
Victorian Member for South Barwon, Darren Cheeseman, said the removal of the level crossing is a particularly welcome improvement to Barwon Heads Road.
“The replacement of the level crossing with the bridge over the rail line at Marshall is a major boost to both the safety and the reliability of travel on the road,” Mr Cheeseman said.
“The level crossing’s removal is especially beneficial to the increasing number of drivers who use Barwon Heads Road at peak travel times.”
Victorian Member for Bellarine, Alison Marchant, said she is pleased the community and travellers are now reaping the full benefits of the upgrade.
“Not only are drivers enjoying improved traffic conditions from the extra lanes and upgraded intersections, the upgrade’s 4km of shared-use path is encouraging people to consider active transport options,” Ms Marchant said.
“I’m pleased that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can now use these terrific new community assets.”