By Jade Lawton
LA TROBE MP Jason Wood has committed $85 million to the grade separation of Berwick’s main bottleneck, Clyde Road.
The announcement has been welcomed by Berwick traders, who say a grade separation would drastically improve traffic on the arterial, which comes to a standstill when the boom gates go down.
Mr Wood made the announcement on site last week – but his opponent, Labor’s Laura Smyth, warned that it smelt like ‘policy on the run.’
“This $85 million would specifically go towards the underpass,” he said.
“Traders have made this very clear that this is what they want, and this is what will fix the road.”
Mr Wood said the total cost of the grade separation would be $110 million, with the State Government of the day responsible for picking up the $25 million tab.
“I don’t want the State Government to get away from the underpass. What they’ve put on the table (for the Clyde Road duplication) is $55 million for one kilometre of road – it’s ridiculous. I’m not sure if Labor will match it but we on the Liberal side have been committed to this two elections in a row.”
Mr Wood said planning on the grade separation would start immediately if the Federal Coalition were elected.
Berwick Village Chamber of Commerce President Harry Hutchinson said the commitment was great news for Berwick.
“We think $85 million will go a long way towards putting a grade separation down there. We’re not experts, but that seems the obvious choice to keep traffic moving,” he said.
Mr Wood’s main opponent, Laura Smyth, said she understood the policy had not been committed in writing.
“I don’t believe this has been costed in the Coalition’s campaign commitments, but I’m very happy to see the costing in detail,” she said.
“It seems to be a kerbside commitment, a bit of a Tony Abbott on the run special.”
By Jade Lawton