Freeway links cities

Updated November 7 2012 - 2:11am, first published April 17 2009 - 11:11am
VicRoads team leader Nathan Mullane stands on the Calder Freeway section soon to be opened
VicRoads team leader Nathan Mullane stands on the Calder Freeway section soon to be opened

The road has been long for those awaiting a safer passage to Melbourne, but the Calder Freeway is finally complete.Bendigo is now linked to Melbourne by freeway, more than 20 years after the ribbon was cut at the Gisborne bypass.The final piece of the puzzle, between Elphinstone and Harcourt North, will open to traffic on Monday morning.Travel between Bendigo and Melbourne is expected to be nine minutes faster.The speed limit on the new section of freeway will be 80kmh until midweek, then it will rise to 110kmh.Premier John Brumby will open the freeway at a completion celebration and community day tomorrow.About 1000 people are expected to attend the day, which will include displays, walking trails and entertainment.''As federal member for Bendigo in the 1980s, my vision was to see the Calder Freeway duplicated and completed through to Bendigo,'' Mr Brumby said.''I am delighted that this has been achieved.''Calder Highway Improvement Committee chairwoman and Macedon Ranges councillor Helen Relph said the completed freeway was a dream come true.''It was fraught with hiccups along the way, but each new phase has come through.''The highway in the early 1980s was just so dangerous, and all the road deaths obviously justified the duplication.''People would just plant the foot and be doing 150 or 200kmh to get past a stream of traffic because there were no overtaking opportunities, and with the limited amount that were available, people were taking massive risks.''VicRoads team leader Nathan Mullane said the final section of freeway would provide drivers with magnificent views of the Harcourt Valley and high levels of road safety.''It's going to be quite a nice drive.''This last section was one of the most challenging to construct, because of the rocky and hilly terrain around the Harcourt region.''Considerable effort has gone into making it considerably safer than the minimum standard.''We're really trying to push the envelope there.''

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