By Bonny Burrows
An unsealed Labertouche road known as a local hotspot for accidents is undergoing a $1.16 million upgrade.
This summer, a seven-kilometre stretch of Labertouche North Road will be widened and sealed under the State Government’s Local Roads to Market Program.
Labertouche North Road is regularly used by local farmers and agricultural suppliers, along with emergency services and four-wheel drive enthusiasts.
However, in recent times there have been four crashes including one fatality, heightening a decade-long push by residents for road improvements.
State Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford announced works would finally begin later this year during a visit to Labertouche on 20 April, much to the relief of locals.
“Farmers have told me you can really feel your bones rattling around on this road, it’s really corrugated and they’ve been calling for an upgrade for the road for seven, 10, 12 years – as long as any of them have been here,” Ms Pulford said.
She said the upgrades would make it easier on the industries which use the road on a daily basis.
“Agriculture is one of the state’s most important industries and we’re determined to help our farmers more easily get their product to market – this is about local jobs and supporting the local economy,” Ms Pulford said.
“We are making improvements where it counts – sealing Victoria’s bumpy gravel roads, fixing tight and dangerous intersections and strengthening bridges to get our great produce to market quickly and in top condition.”
The upgrade, one of 30 throughout regional and rural Victoria, will be jointly funded by the State Government and Baw Baw Shire Council.
Baw Baw Shire Mayor Joe Gauci welcomed the upgrade, saying it would save lives.
The Victorian Farmers Federation’s president, David Jochinke agreed and said the road was a real safety risk.
“These upgrades will improve productivity across the agriculture supply chain and improve the country road network for all users,” Mr Jochinke said.