Australian road agency in the state of Victoria, VicRoads, has invited bids for a contract to upgrade the $520m Western Highway.

Work on the first contract involves upgrading the four-lane divided highway for an 8km section from Ballarat to Burrumbeet.

Work is expected to begin in early 2010 and finish in early 2012.

The total project involves building a four-lane two carriageway highway along the existing nearly 110km Western Highway from the Sunraysia Highway at Ballarat to Stawell, and is expected to finish in late 2015.

The project is being funded by $404m from the Federal Government.