By Mitchell Clarke
A tender to upgrade Healesville-Kooweerup Road has been released, with works set to begin as early as next year.
The upgrade is part of the South Eastern Roads Upgrade, the biggest ever in arterial roads by the Victorian Government, at a cost of $4 billion, according to Major Road Projects Victoria.
Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale has welcomed the announcement.
“This is a much needed investment along this horrible stretch of road and I am sure the 21,000 drivers going up and down daily would agree as well,” Ms Crugnale said.
“The duplication will be so much safer for everyone.”
The road, which is one of six key routes in the south east to be upgraded, has a harrowing history when it comes to vehicle crashes.
The Gazette has reported on numerous incidents over the last few years with a number of fatal and non-fatal collisions recorded on what many have referred to as the “death road”.
In January this year, a cattle truck rolled on the notorious road, forcing a number of the animals to be euthanised.
The project, once complete, will improve traffic flow and travel times, provide an alternative north-south route in the Pakenham South area and lower the risk and severity of crashes by installing safety barriers.
Major Road Projects Victoria Director, Suburban Roads Upgrade Peter Jones said the road will become safer for vehicles.
“Extra lanes and upgraded intersections along Healesville-Kooweerup Road will make it safer and easier for all road users to travel around these suburbs,” Mr Jones said.
“Beyond making Healesville-Kooweerup Road more reliable and improving traffic times, we’ll also install safety barriers and fix major intersections along this busy road.”
The safety barriers will be located alongside the road while a service road will be built between Deep Creek and Soldiers Road.
Under the plans, Healesville-Kooweerup Road will be widened from two lanes to four lanes, with an extra lane added each way between Princes Freeway and Manks Road for 10 kilometres.
New roundabouts are scheduled for Ballarto Road, Hall Road and south of Deep Creek while the existing roundabouts on the Princes Freeway will be widened.
Residents have taken to social media to share their excitement.
“I haven’t lived in the area for 33 years and this road is the same as when I was a kid,” one Facebook user said.
“I avoid that intersection as much as possible when visiting family. I can’t wait to see the changes.”
“I drive down Ballarto and Kooweerup Road probably twice a week and it definitely needs an upgrade,” another added.
“Not too long ago that intersection saw two smashed cars within weeks of each other so I’m glad something is finally being done.”
The south-eastern and northern roads upgrade packages are due to be completed at the end of 2025.