THE Calder Alternative is the most deadly stretch of highway in central Victoria, crash statistics stretching back nine years show.
Six people have lost their lives in separate crashes within just 20km of each other since New Year's Day, 2011, Transport Accident Commission data shows.
A new push to fix some of central Victoria's deadliest stretches will begin next week when members of the Calder Highway Improvement Committee gather in Bendigo to work out which projects to lobby governments this year.
While the groups president David Pollard does not want to preempt any decisions, the Calder Alternative Highway will be among roads discussed.
"There have been some very serious crashes on the Calder Alternative, especially in the last 12 months," he said.
"I feel that the biggest issue there is vehicles overtaking on the opposite sides of the road. It's a winding track in spots."
He suspects the Calder Alternative has become busier since the Ravenswood interchange at the road's southern end was completed in 2018.
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The road is part of a major freight route connecting northern Victoria to the Port of Melbourne and it is difficult for cars to overtake trucks there, Cr Pollard said.
"If I was in a commercial vehicle it would be completely impossible to overtake anyone," he said.
Fixing the Calder Alternative could mean separating oncoming traffic and adding new lanes or giving it a new alignment, Cr Pollard said.
A stretch of the Midland Highway between Bendigo and Rochester had eight fatal crashes in nine years but they were spread over 60km, three times the distance of the Calder Alternative.
A 50km stretch of the Northern Highway linking Elmore and Heathcote had seven crashes, or one every 1.29 years.
There was one fatal crash every 2.25 years on the 65km Calder Freeway between Bendigo and Kyneton, and one every 1.5 years on the 135km from Bendigo to Rochester.
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Road authorities have been upgrading roads throughout the region over the last nine years, including rolling out flexible road safety barriers.
There were 360 recorded hits to barriers in the north central area of Victoria last year, RRV data shows. They were among the more than 3000 hits recorded statewide.
The Victorian government says deaths and serious injuries statewide has almost halved where the barriers have been installed.
Regional Roads Victoria expects hundreds more safety projects will begin across Victoria this year on high-risk roads and intersections as part of the $1.4 billion Towards Zero plan.
RRV is also rolling out a $57.2 million maintenance blitz across the region to resurface, reseal and rebuild 268km of road. It is also investigating possible works on the McIvor Highway, Strathfieldsaye Road and Marong Road.
It also pointed to a joint state and federal plan to spend $10 million on the Calder Highway between Bendigo and Mildura which is currently being rolled out.
RRV provided a list of recently completed key projects related to the highways mentioned in this story:
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