The first and second stages of a vital upgrade of a popular tourist road and logging access route are complete and the road to the Californian Redwoods has been reopened in time for the long weekend.
Colac Otway Shire Chief Executive Peter Brown said the sealing and widening of a 5.8-kilometre section of Binns Road south from Beech Forest would make a significant difference to safety and accessibility all year round.
“Council identified Binns Road as a key link between Beech Forest and the Great Ocean Road, particularly Apollo Bay for both locals and tourists.
“Local residents raised concerns about the width and condition of the gravel road, which they shared with log trucks carting from coupes and an increasing number of tourists.
“Road maintenance is particularly challenging in the Otways because of the high rainfall, heavy vehicles such as log trucks and milk tankers and the higher volume of traffic, as people want to visit our region, see waterfalls and discover attractions such as the Otway Fly and Californian Redwoods.
“Council advocated strongly for funding and was successful in obtaining a grant of $471,504 through the State Government’s Fixing Country Roads Program to widen and seal the first 1.5 kilometres of the road.
“Colac Otway contributed a further $180,000 from Council’s Strategic Roads Program to widen and seal an additional 0.5 kilometres of stage one of the upgrade project.
“Council was then successful in gaining a further $996,000 from the State Government through a second round of the Fixing Country Roads Program to widen and seal a further 3.8-kilometre stretch of Binns Road through to the Redwoods.
“Colac Otway has contributed $498,000 towards the second stage of the Binns Road upgrade.
“The widening and sealing work creating a six-metre pavement is complete, culverts have been widened and new guardrail has been installed, with some additional signs to go on the new guardrail sections this week,” Mr Brown said.
“We appreciate the local community’s and timber industry’s patience during the completion of stage one and two which has delivered a significant, long-term improvement for road safety on this key Otways road.”