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Protecting The Great Ocean Road In Its Centenary Year

24 June 2019

The Andrews Labor Government is protecting and improving the Great Ocean Road to ensure the historic coastal route remains strong and safe for future generations.

It has been 100 years since construction first began on the Great Ocean Road, with returned World War One soldiers working to build the road along the rugged coastline of south western Victoria.

Using picks, shovels, wheelbarrows and explosives, the diggers constructed the road between 1919 and 1932. Last year Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) crews discovered two metal rods from the cliffside that were used by the original road builders for that very purpose.

Recovered from the cliff faces at Big Hill and Cumberland River, these rods will be donated to the Lorne Historical Society in celebration of this year’s upcoming Great Ocean Road centenary.

Engineers and road workers are continuing the diggers’ legacy with new works designed to improve the geotechnical resilience of this iconic tourist route.

Drone surveying has allowed geotechnical engineers to model the terrain above and below the road, capturing steep cliff faces, historical landslip sites and areas previously inaccessible to surveyors.

Rock armour walls are being constructed beneath the road and along the foreshore to help protect the road from the impacts of coastal erosion, while high-tech weather stations are providing rainfall and soil moisture content data to help engineers measure the impacts of these factors on the cliff faces above and below the road.

Rock netting, soil nailing and erosion control matting are all also being rolled out to stabilise the embankments and help prevent loose rockfall.

Near Cumberland River, workers are removing rock from cliff face above the road – abseiling down to dislodge rocks with drilling equipment and expanding grout so they can fall safely behind an innovative container-wall barrier below.

This work is part of the Labor Government’s $53 million investment to protect and improve the geotechnical resilience of the Great Ocean Road.

To find out more about works planned for the Great Ocean Road, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford

“The diggers who began building the Great Ocean Road a century ago couldn’t have imagined how the road would be transformed and the new geotechnical tools we’re using protect this historic route.”

“We’re taking action to protect and improve the road for the communities that rely on it every day and the millions of people who visit this beautiful region every year.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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