By Oliver Lees
Calls to upgrade the Calder Highway have revved up once again, following the launch of Brimbank council’s ‘Fix the Calder’ campaign.
Last Saturday in Keilor, Hume mayor Joseph Haweil joined Brimbank councillors and community members in calling on the state and federal governments to fix the Calder Freeway.
As part of the campaign, Brimbank council has launched a petition which will be tabled in state Parliament at a later date.
Calder Action Group (CAG) president Russell Howatt spoke at the event.
“Today marks a new beginning in our combined quest to secure urgent funding for the Calder Freeway,” Mr Howatt said.
“The north-west communities deserve a better and safer Calder Freeway, which has lacked any significant investment.
“If we look at the state government’s ‘Victoria’s Big Build website’ there is no mention of the Calder Freeway or any future projects in this area which is in my opinion unforgivable.”
The CAG are calling for the widening of the Calder with additional lanes, including upgrades between the Western Ring Road and Gap Road, Sunbury.
This will see the speed limit increase to 110km/h limit all the way to Bendigo.
The federal government first committed $50 million to the project in early 2019 but work is yet to commence.
The state government recently announced an investigation into investment priorities along the freeway, but the Brimbank council says “nothing more has progressed on project design or delivery timelines”, nor has there been “any additional funding commitment from the state government”.
McEwen MP Rob Mitchell told Star Weekly the lack of action on the project was disappointing.
“I think it’s just another case of empty promises,” Mr Mitchell said.
Mr Howatt said the group were “gravely concerned” at the escalating congestion along the freeway.
“Between 2014 and 2018 there were 388 crashes, eight of them fatal and 101 serious,” he said.
“The Victorian government continues to approve future housing developments in Sydenham, Melton, Diggers Rest, Sunbury and Gisborne South.
“The traffic congestion and numerous accidents will increase to the detriment of our collective communities and so will the cost of road trauma, if no major investment is made.”
To sign Beimbank council’s petition, visit: fixthecalder.brimbank.vic.gov.au