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Driver safety has been improved on the Hume Freeway between Melbourne and Sydney with the opening of two new refurbished roadside rest areas at Benalla and Wangaratta.

In an attempt to combat driver and fleet fatigue, the new enhanced rest areas will look to reduce the risk of crashes along one of Australia’s busiest freeways.

“Across rural and regional Australia, the Australian Government is investing in our roads to ensure Australians can get home sooner and safer, as well as boosting productivity,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said.

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said the rest areas will provide truck drivers with a safe option to rest along one of the most significant freight routes in the state.

“This is about saving lives. The new facilities will help to improve safety and reduce driver fatigue – the most common cause of road crashes involving heavy vehicles,” Mr Donnellan said.

Deputy Nationals’ Leader and Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the two rest areas are located northbound on the Hume Freeway at Bentons Hill, between Wangaratta and Springhurst, and Reef Hills, just south of Benalla.

“The rest areas were old and in poor condition, so they have been upgraded with more parking spaces and modern facilities,” Senator McKenzie said.

State Member for Northern Victoria Jacyln Symes said the works were fast-tracked to open in time for the recent July school holidays.

“We know it’s a busier time on our roads with many families heading away for a break, so we’re pleased to provide a safe place for people to stop and recover if they need,” Ms Symes said.

The $4.09 million upgrades have been jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP).

For more information on the HVSPP, visit