A Shorten Labor Government has promised to partner with the State Andrews Labor Government to contribute $85 million towards supporting the upgrade of the major east-west thoroughfare Thompsons Road to improve safety and efficiency.
The project would involve the duplication of high-volume sections of Thompsons Road to six lanes, full grade separation at the Western Port Highway intersection, and upgrades to intersections at Dandenong-Frankston Road and Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road.
Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus said the funding would also consider further planning for the full six-lane duplication option.
“This is a big commitment and will mean a big improvement for local residents,“ Mr Dreyfus said.
“This funding will see the duplication of high-volume sections of Thompsons Road, reducing travel time for local residents.
“The Liberals have failed to invest in local roads at both a state and federal level. This commitment shows that only Labor will seriously invest in roads and infrastructure.”
Minister for Roads and Member for Narre Warren North Luke Donnellan said the commitment supported the State Government’s $175 million investment to upgrade Thompsons Road.
The Andrews Labor Government allocated 2016/’17 Victorian Budget money towards the upgrade of Thompsons Road that would see two lanes in each direction between Dandenong‐Frankston Road and Evans Road, and between Narre Warren‐Cranbourne Road and Berwick‐Cranbourne Road.
The project would also include replacing the existing roundabout at the Thompsons Road and Western Port Highway intersection with traffic lights.
“We welcome Federal Labor’s support for Thompsons Road,” Mr Donnellan said.
“We look forward to working with a Federal Labor Government that understands the needs of our growing outer suburbs,” he said.
Cardinia Shire Council and the City of Casey have been lobbying for federal candidates to support a national infrastructure fund under the Fund Our Future campaign, which included the need for the duplication and extension of Thompsons Road.
City of Casey mayor Sam Aziz welcomed the commitment but was concerned that $85 million would not be sufficient in achieving a full grade separation.
The council had estimated a full grade separation to cost about $120 million.
“The Thompsons Road and Western Port Highway intersection is a major transport bottleneck affecting connections between Casey, and the Kingston and Monash employment corridor. It links to the Mornington Peninsula and Hastings regions,” Mr Aziz said.
“Council has been advocating for a grade separation of the intersection to ensure the intersection will provide efficient connections in the short term and facilitate the future upgrade of Western Port Highway to a freeway in the long term.”
Mr Aziz said the council would continue to advocate for the extension of Thompsons Road to Officer South, which the Labor announcement failed to address.
“The extension from Berwick-Cranbourne Road to Cardinia Road is the final piece of the puzzle, and council is calling for further funding to ensure Thompsons Road can be completed in its entirety,” he said.
“A fully constructed Thompsons Road, from Lyndhurst to Officer South, would provide a new high capacity east-west freight and logistics corridor, and facilitate the development of employment land in Casey and Cardinia to support the creation of 100,000 jobs in the region.”
National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) executive officer Ruth Spielman said that while the package was needed, it did “not go far enough”.
“We need a long-term approach to the rapid growth in outer suburbs, like Melbourne’s south-east,” she said.
“The solution is a national infrastructure fund for these areas.”
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.