By BRIDGET SCOTT
A MULTI-MILLION dollar project and first for the City of Casey was officially opened after a “hell of a fight,” according to La Trobe MP Jason Wood.
Mr Wood and Gembrook MP Brad Battin agreed the huge infrastructure project along Clyde Road took a while to come to fruition, and were both thrilled to see the final stage complete.
The upgrade includes signals at intersections and the construction of two additional lanes to provide a four-lane divided carriageway to separate turning vehicles from through traffic to ease congestion.
Mr Wood said this was the first of its kind and the biggest project undertaken by the State and Federal Government for the area of La Trobe.
“It’s been a hell of a fight to get to this stage but we’ve made it,” he said.
Mr Battin said he was aware of the implications these works had on local traders but was pleased to announce business was back to normal for nearly everyone in the Berwick area.
“I am very happy to be opening this and to inform you all that the Christmas trade around the area was back to normal for most local stores,” he said.
Mr Battin and Mr Wood cut the ribbon on the $57 million project at the corner of Langmore Lane and Clyde Road on Friday to mark the official opening.
They were watched on by local councillors including Mayor of the City of Casey Geoff Ablett as well as councillors Amanda Stapledon and Mick Morland.
Local residents and road users also gathered to welcome the finished and much sought after constructions.
The upgrade is expected to reduce crash rates by 30 per cent by 2017 and travel times by about 20 per cent during peak periods.
Mr Wood said this dramatically eased congestion and made it safer for pedestrians and drivers.
The updated road also catered for cyclists, with a dedicated bicycle lane and footpath for walkers along both sides of Clyde Road.
“The upgrade has achieved what the community needed and wanted with safety and traffic flow improvements, and overall enhancement of the streetscape,” Mr Wood said.