The 240km-long Great Ocean Road is located between the cities of Torquay and Allansford in Victoria, Australia.

The road was built in memory of the soldiers who were martyred in World War I. Constructed by more than 3,000 soldiers, the road was opened to traffic in November 1932. It was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2011.

The narrow road, which has numerous tight curves, marks the social significance of Victoria with its historical and archaeological value.

Purpose of Great Ocean Road upgrade

The Great Ocean Road is one of the major tourist routes in Victoria and has been experiencing deterioration due to the effects of the coastal environment and climate. The Victorian and Australian Governments have initiated an A$100m ($77m) upgrade project to restore the road, as well as bridges and barriers along the road.

Improvements such as road pavement upgrades, bridge strengthening, barrier works and extra signage installation works will be carried out as part of the project.

The upgrade project aims to reduce the number of deaths on the deteriorated road due to its age factor.

“Constructed by more than 3,000 soldiers, the road was opened to traffic in November 1932.”

The capacity of the existing bridges is inadequate to handle the vehicular traffic, resulting in congestion and slow travel at peak hours. The project will replace the corroded structures that minimise the bridge load capacity and cause landslides and rock falls.

Great Ocean Road Upgrade details

The project includes the renovation of various bridges and culverts that are either damaged or undersized along the Great Ocean Road. Major patching works on the deteriorated road sections will be executed, while the pavement reconstruction and road resurfacing will be executed on more than 40km of the road.

A total of 48 sites have been marked for stabilisation, and three bridges and two culverts for reconstruction. Safety barriers will be installed and vegetation management works will be executed as part of the project.

Construction details

The replacement of Wye River culvert was completed in August 2014. The $0.89m works also included major earthworks to install the multi-cell culvert.

The loose stone Big Hill Rock was removed and rock netting and catch fencing between Big Hill and Skenes Creek completed in September 2014.

Rock fall netting was installed at three sites to prevent larger rocks rolling down the road. The $0.41m project between Big Hill and Reedy Creek was completed in August 2015.

Two gabion walls were also constructed at Petticoat Creek and Smythes Creek to prevent erosion during storms. The work was completed in December 2014 at a cost of $0.68m.

The pavement reconstruction and surfacing works were completed at a cost of $3.5m, in December 2015. The works between Belbrae and Allansford included asphalt patching, bituminous sealing and slurry sealing at more than 30 sites.

The vegetation management works were completed in December 2015 at a cost of $0.35m. The project was executed at 11 sites between Anglesea and Allansford. Trees and weeds were removed, as well as shrubs and branches were trimmed to enhance the fire management services and biodiversity, as part of the project.

Project benefits

The road upgrade works will enhance safety by providing smoother road surfaces and improved line marking. The upgrade will also reduce unplanned road closures and traffic congestion in the stretch between Torquay and Allansford.

The project will minimise the risk and impact of road crashes, while traffic flow will be enhanced with the road resurfacing and reconstruction.

The upgrade will also benefit cyclists, while the new bridges and culverts are expected to last for a century.

Financing

The Great Ocean Road upgrade project involves an A$100m investment, 50% of which is jointly provided by the Victorian and Australian Governments.

The Andrews Labor government committed to providing the remaining A$50m ($38.5m).