THE Coalition has made its biggest play to win back Indi with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce on Tuesday a commitment to bankroll a $64 million overpass of the controversial McKoy Street intersection in Wodonga.
Mr Morrison will visit Wodonga to make the significant announcement less than a fortnight before the May 18 federal election in the strongest sign to date the government is confident it can regain the seat lost to independent Cathy McGowan in 2013.
Traffic conditions at the intersection with the Hume Freeway in West Wodonga were changed last year when a nearby service station opened, but the configuration of turning lanes in the freeway median strip have been described as a death-trap in waiting.
The funding windfall to be announced by Mr Morrison and Indi Liberal candidate Steve Martin will "fast-track" the planning and design of the overpass upgrade and kickstart the construction phase.
Previous estimates for the overpass solution have been around $80 million with the balance of the funding expected to come from the state government.
Once complete traffic speeds will return to 110km/h after being reduced to 80km/h since 2015.
"Our record and our plan are focused on backing the upgrades to improve our major highways and local roads," Mr Morrison said.
"Steve Martin has listened to his local community who have long been concerned about the safety of the current McKoy Street intersection with the Hume Freeway, and has strongly advocated for a serious commitment to get this project underway.
"You need to be a member of a government to deliver results for your community."
Mr Martin said the intersection was well-known to motorists and truck drivers as a dangerous black spot where accidents and near misses had occurred.
"This has been a notorious section of the freeway as you approach Wodonga for far too long," he said.
"Safety concerns have only been exacerbated after the state government took a decision to lower the speed limit through the intersection.
"It is unsafe for trucks who need to move across the freeway and are forced to encounter vehicles travelling at varying speeds heading towards and away from Wodonga."
Mr Martin said improvements to the crash history have been made in recent times but there are still far too many near misses.
"If elected, I will be pushing the state government to utilise the funding that we have put on the table to deliver the upgrade as soon as possible," he said.
Nationals Indi candidate for Indi Mark Byatt said all road users would welcome the announcement.
"Something is fundamentally wrong to have a speed restriction of 80km/h," he said.
"That's not what a national corridor is all about."
The battle for Indi is intense with two betting agencies unable to agree on the favourite to win the seat.
TAB has independent candidate Helen Haines the $2.10 favourite narrowly ahead of Mr Martin ($2.40) and Mr Byatt ($5).
But Sportsbet has the Coalition favoured to win the seat at $1.75 ahead of Ms Haines at $1.97.
The Coalition is expected to make further announcements on mobile phone blackspot funding.
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