Two Whittlesea roads will face a construction blitz next year with early works on the Plenty and Yan Yean roads upgrades under way.

Work to improve Yan Yean Road between Diamond Creek Road and Kurrack Road began last week, while the detailed design and relocation of utilities has started along Plenty Road. Major construction works will start on both roads in the new year.

The $139.4 million Plenty Road upgrade will add an extra lane in each direction along a 2.8 kilometre section between McKimmies Road and Bush Boulevard, as well as the installation of new safety barriers and on-road cycling lanes.

There will also be safety improvements to the intersections at McKimmies Road, Mayfield Drive, Childs Road, Rivergum Drive, Bush Boulevard and Centenary Drive.

Buses will be given priority at some intersections, while the centre median will be preserved for the future extension of the route 86 tram from Bundoora to South Morang.

The work is expected to be finished by late 2018.

Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the government was also planning to upgrade Plenty Road between Bush Boulevard and Bridge Inn Road.

“We know drivers are sick of being stuck in traffic on Plenty Road, that’s why we’re starting early works to cut congestion and boost safety along this key route,” he said.

Yan Yean Road will be widened from one lane to two in each direction, while the intersections at Diamond Creek Road, Memorial Drive and River Avenue will be upgraded.

The upgrade will also include a continuous centre median to prevent head-on crashes, straightening the road to improve driver visibility and new service roads to allow residents to access their properties safely.

There will also be new off-road cycling and pedestrian paths along the road. The work is expected to be finished in mid-2019.

Yan Yean MP Danielle Green said the upgrade would bring a safety boost for motorists.

“The growth we’ve seen in the north has put enormous pressure on Yan Yean Road – a vital link connection communities in Plenty, Yarrambat and Doreen – and this important upgrade will bring much needed relief to locals,” she said.