A PRE-ELECTION press conference in August confirmed an upgrade for one of Bendigo’s most dangerous intersections, but the blueprint it borrowed from has been sitting in waiting for more than 12 years.
The Ravenswood intersection has the dubious honour of having one of the region’s highest rates of road crashes.
The $86 million safety upgrade announced before this year’s federal election followed seven serious crashes in the past five years.
An overpass is set to be built at the site to bridge the Calder Alternative Highway across the Calder Highway.
VicRoads regional director Mal Kersting said the works were still in a preliminary phase, with surveyors reviewing the site.
He said the intersection had been listed as a priority area for upgrades for years after a series of major crashes and near-misses.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine labelled the intersection “arguably the most dangerous intersection anywhere in Victoria".
“It certainly is one of the most dangerous spots in the region,” Mr Kersting said.
“What we know about this site is that it’s got a history of crashes, and also a history of risky behaviour on the part of motorists.”
A 2001 report on the future of the Calder Highway detailed sketches of an overpass beside the current intersection.
Mr Kersting said that design had always been part of a strategic plan to improve road safety on the highway.
“The original plan allowed for a new overpass to join in with the highway,” he said.
“It was created to eliminate the need to have traffic intersecting.”
“That design is now being looked at by surveyors and designers in order to complete the works.”
Mr Kersting said the current surveying works would be finished by the end of the year, before designs and contracts could start.
He said it was difficult to confirm any set timeline but said it was likely to be opened in 2017.
Mr Kersting said the Ravenswood construction would be the biggest upgrade for road safety in the region since the Calder Highway duplication project in 2009.
He said there was a lot of complicated planning required in the $86 million upgrade.
"It's by far the largest project in the Bendigo area," he said.
"It's quite a complex site.
"You've got some interesting and challenging terrain.
"Technically it is quite a challenging site."
The intersection works will cause temporary road closures along parts of the Calder Highway until December.
What we know about this site is that it’s got a history of crashes