REGION - Drivers using the Western Highway are being encouraged to avoid fatigue by taking a break in new and upgraded rest areas about to be constructed near Dadswells Bridge.
The Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad and Victorian Minister for Roads Terry Mulder have announced the start of works on a $1.2 million project to create a new rest area west of Dadswells Bridge and upgrade an existing one on the east side of the town.
"Driver fatigue contributes to more than 20 per cent of road crashes in Victoria, the toll rising to 30 per cent for heavy vehicles," Mr Broad said.
"The Western Highway is a particularly busy national highway in terms of freight movement and the section between Stawell and the South Australian border has a record of being a fatigue zone.
"The new and upgraded rest areas will make travelling on the Western Highway much safer for drivers who take the opportunity to stop for a break.
Mr Mulder said construction would begin immediately after the Australia Day long weekend.
"The works are due to be completed by the end of March, ready for the 4000 drivers who use the highway each day," Mr Mulder said.
"Both sites will have new sealed parking areas, picnic areas and seating, while the new rest area will also have toilet facilities.
"Meanwhile works are almost complete on a protected right turn lane into Mt Drummond Road near Dadswells Bridge.
"This will improve safety for the many vehicles that turn here, including trucks travelling to a quarry and tourists heading to Halls Gap."
The works are part of the larger $48.45 million Western Highway Upgrade between Stawell and the South Australian border project, which the Australian Government is funding by $40 million dollars and the Victorian Government by $8.45 million.