The Government of Victoria has announced the commencement of works on the second stage of the A$711m ($509.54m) Monash Freeway Upgrade project.

The upgrade, which will add 36km of new lanes to improve traffic conditions, is expected to save drivers an additional nine minutes in travel time and avoid congestion.

In order to provide drivers with live traffic information and help in lane management, smart technology will be installed from the South Gippsland Freeway to the Beaconsfield Interchange.

The business case for the project has been approved by the Government of Australia and is expected to be launched shortly. During the construction phase, the project is expected to create 600 jobs.

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“These right-lane truck bans are reducing crashes, improving traffic flow and helping the 200,000 drivers that rely on the Monash to get home safely.”

Road drilling is being carried out between the South Gippsland Freeway and Cardinia to assess the ground conditions where overhead land use management system gantries will be installed.

The government has restricted truck movement permanently on the right-hand lane of the Monash Freeway after a six-month trial, which was followed by a 40% decrease in crashes since its implementation.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said: “Early works are underway, the business case has been ticked off and we’ve shortlisted contractors to build this massive project. We’re getting on with the second stage of the Monash Freeway Upgrade.”

“These right-lane truck bans are reducing crashes, improving traffic flow and helping the 200,000 drivers that rely on the Monash to get home safely.”

Construction of the new lanes is set to begin next year with scheduled completion expected by mid-2022.