Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Minister for Transport Terry Mulder this week officially opened Section 4B, the final section, of the Geelong Ring Road to traffic.
The Prime Minister and Victorian Minister joined locals from across the Geelong region at a Community Day in Waurn Ponds to celebrate the opening.
Construction began on the Geelong Ring Road in early 2006. Thirty kilometres of freeway-standard road and almost seven years later, motorists can now travel from Melbourne to the Surf Coast without stopping at a single traffic light.
Section 4B is the final missing link joining the Ring Road to the Princes Highway, and is vital in developing and improving the road network between Melbourne and south-western Victoria.
The Geelong Ring Road demonstrates the commitment of both governments to deliver safer, more efficient roads for freight and commuter traffic, as well as encourage tourism to popular regional destinations.
The opening of the $110 million Section 4B provides motorists with a seamless connection from the Geelong Ring Road to the Princes Highway and on to Colac.
Since the first stages of the Geelong Ring Road opened in 2009, it has significantly transformed the way people move in and around greater Geelong. The Ring Road has slashed travel times for motorists and greatly reduced truck volumes on key roads in Geelong – by 50 to 75 per cent in some places.
Two environmentally sustainable rest areas have been constructed on this final section, which are furnished with parking, toilets and other facilities to help combat driver fatigue.
After years of extensive planning, community consultation and construction work, the local community, commuters and tourists can now enjoy the considerable benefits this project delivers.
Construction is also underway to provide a safer duplicated Princes Highway from Waurn Ponds through to Winchelsea with completion expected in mid-2015. At the same time, planning is on track to continue the duplication to Colac. Together with the Ring Road, inland routes to popular coastal destinations will be more accessible for holiday makers.