If you’re travelling between Lockwood and anywhere south of Bendigo during the next few weeks you might want to plan ahead as road works force the closure of part of the Calder Alternative Highway. Here’s everything you need to know about the works, road closure and detour.
Which part of the freeway will be affected?
The southbound lane of the highway – Marong to Melbourne – will be closed to traffic between the Bendigo-Maldon Road and the Calder Highway. The northbound lane – Melbourne to Marong – will remain open while the work is under way.
How long will the road be closed?
The works are due to begin on Thursday, August 17, and are expected to continue until mid-November, during which time the southbound detour will remain in place.
Where is the alternate route?
Southbound motorists are advised to detour the affected stretch of road via Lockwood Road. Drivers taking the detour should allow for about an extra 10 minutes on their total journey time.
What work is being done?
The works include the construction of an elevated circular road that will separate freight and slow-moving traffic from faster-moving traffic.
When the works are complete, truck drivers will no longer have to stop, wait in the median and accelerate to join traffic to enter the Calder Highway as they head towards Melbourne.
As part of the works, the U-turn bay near Beilharz Road will also close permanently.
Why is the work necessary?
The intersection was dubbed “arguably the most dangerous intersection anywhere in Victoria” by former-Premier Denis Napthine, after recording seven casualty crashes in the five years to June 30, 2012.
In 2014, a 30-year-old woman was killed in a crash at the intersection, in which two men and an 8-year-old girl were also injured.
The crash occurred when the vehicle the woman was driving collided with a cement truck.
How much will it cost?
Construction on the $86 million upgrade began in February, with $41 million in state government funding and a $45 million contribution from the Commonwealth government.