Road project urgent: Chesters

BENDIGO MP Lisa Chesters says the Calder Highway intersection at Ravenswood needs to be the region's top priority but says the state and federal governments have been "dragging their heels" on the upgrade.

Ms Chesters said in a speech in Federal Parliament on Monday that both levels of government have evaded questions on the $86-million project.

She singled out Victorian transport minister Terry Mulder for intervening in a meeting she had requested with VicRoads. 

"To date the minister’s office has still yet to confirm if and when I can meet with VicRoads," she said.

"It’s an outrageous attack on our democracy to deny the elected local member access to an arm of the public service to discuss such an important local issue."

A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder said all requests from federal representatives to meet with government bodies needed to be approved by the state minister.

She said the office was not aware of any request from Ms Chesters but said "nevertheless we will get in contact with the member's office to arrange a briefing". 

Ms Chesters said in her speech the Ravenswood project has moved from being a key priority to an urgent priority.

VicRoads last week announced an interim safety measure to lower the speed limit at the approach to the intersection from 100km/h to 80km/h.

The black spot has been listed for an $86-million safety upgrade with an overpass bridging the Calder Alternative Highway across the Calder Highway.

Funding for the project was announced as a joint state and federal project in the lead-up to last year's federal election.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said in a January letter the Ravenswood upgrade was "well underway". He said site investigation work was due to be finished early this year, with construction commencing in mid-2014.

Ms Chesters said she was hopeful of holding the government to account on the development.

"It's fantastic that the state government have confirmed a meeting (with VicRoads)," she said.

"Let’s hope the state and federal Coalition governments do the right thing and fund this project immediately."

The overpass is due to be completed in 2017. 

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