Western Highway upgrades

As the principal road link between Melbourne and Adelaide, the Western Highway (A8) serves interstate trade between Victoria and South Australia.

It is also the key transport corridor through Victoria’s western district, supporting farming, grain production, regional tourism and a range of manufacturing and service activities.

The Western Highway is one of Victoria’s busiest rural highways. Between 6500 (west of Ballarat) and 23,000 (between Melbourne and Ballarat) vehicles travel the road each day. 

With traffic expected to increase in the future, the Australian and Victorian governments have committed over half a billion dollars for the road’s upgrade. 

The funding consists of:

  • $672 million for the duplication of the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell, including construction to Ararat
  • almost $50 million for upgrades between Stawell and the South Australian Border, including new overtaking lanes, rest area improvements, bridge upgrades and planning for a Horsham bypass
  • $50 million for Beaufort bypass planning
  • $50 million for Ararat bypass planning 

To date, 55 kilometres of highway has been duplicated between Ballarat and Buangor.

About the upgrades 

The highway between Ballarat and Stawell is being progressively duplicated and upgraded to provide a safer and more efficient four-lane divided route. In addition to separating the traffic lanes, highway safety will be improved with sealed road shoulders, safety barriers, protected turning lanes, intersection improvements, and service lanes for local access at some locations.

In the five years to December 2015, there were 72 crashes on the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell, including 5 fatalities and 32 serious injuries. 

Infrastructure upgrades, such as those on the Western Highway, are important part of road safety improvements in Western Victoria.

Map overview of the Western Highway duplication from Ballarat to Stawell

View a larger version of the Ballarat to Stawell map [JPG 272Kb]

Upgrades between Stawell and the South Australian Border include rest area improvements, bridge strengthening, new overtaking lanes and planning for a Horsham bypass.

Overhead messaging signs (Intelligent Transport System signs) have been installed at Ballarat, Ararat, Burnt Creek and Kaniva. These signs will provide information to motorists on road conditions, incidents and other information.


Western Highway improvements will:
  • improve road safety
  • enhance road freight efficiency
  • improve journey reliability
  • provide better access to local facilities
  • improve roadside facilities.

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