Government authorities say they have reached a milestone in the massive project to duplicate Victoria’s Princes Highway.

The first section of the upgraded strip between Waurn Ponds and Winchelsea has been opened.

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss used the opening of the road to plug his government’s building agenda.

But the new stretch of highway is just 3.5km, leading some to suggest it is less of a milestone, and more of a platform.

Mr Truss said the $171 million project was well worth doing.

“By making the right infrastructure choices today we are creating a stronger country for tomorrow,” Mr Truss said.

“These improvements are helping to fortify Victoria’s social and economic development by providing increased capacity on roads, reducing transit times, improving traffic flow and providing greater safety for the community at large.”

Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson said motorists will now spend less time in traffic.

“Motorists can now drive from the Geelong Ring Road and continue on the first section of the new highway for 3.5 kilometres to Cape Otway Road. It is wonderful to see this progress.”

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said works from Waurn Ponds to Winchelsea are expected to be completed in mid-2015, with work in Winchelsea expected to be completed in mid 2016.

“These works are improving safety for the thousands of vehicles that use the Princes Highway each day,” Mr Donnellan said.

Mr Truss took pains to point out that the Waurn Ponds to Winchelsea Princes Highway Duplication was an example of the Australian Government’s $7.6 billion commitment to transport infrastructure in Victoria in action.