The Leongatha Heavy Vehicle Alternate Route study has been endorsed by council and VicRoads. The route (above) will remove heavy vehicles from Bair Street. While the plan has been finalised, it has not received any funding.
THE route for a heavy vehicle alternate route in Leongatha has been approved by VicRoads and South Gippsland Shire Council.
The route will see trucks redirected to Long Street rather than along Bair Street.
Council endorsed the planning study, along with some amendments following community consultation in a December meeting.
While VicRoads and council approve of the route, no funding for the project has been allocated.
It is estimated the works will cost around $5 million.
Mayor Jim Fawcett said council will now actively seek $5 million in funding from State and Federal Governments.
“The project has been mooted for a number of years and it is great to have a final design that realistically has a chance to attract the necessary funding,” he said.
“Grander routes that were proposed could have cost up to $20 million and would have been highly unlikely to gain funding.
“The need is here right now and we are keen to progress the project to redirect heavy vehicles away from the CBD and improve safety.
“Along with VicRoads, we’ve consulted with residents and businesses to deliver the best possible design which now includes traffic lights and the Nerrena Road/Ogilvy Street and Koonwarra Road intersection, plus footpaths along Long Street to provide safer and easier access for pedestrians to the railway station and town centre.”
As part of the process, council will be planning to improve the amenity of the town centre, particularly Bair Street with a focus on parking and streetscape to improve the town’s retail precinct.
Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent has thrown his support behind South Gippsland Shire Council’s push for further funding of the Leongatha Heavy Vehicle route.
“I’m delighted to see the Leongatha Heavy Vehicle Route has progressed to this stage. I know it’s been something the Leongatha community has been agitating for, for some years,” Mr Broadbent said.
“I will certainly push the cause as far as I can in Canberra.
“South Gippsland Shire Council has an allocation of $8,181,531 under the current Roads to Recovery Program – from 2009 to 2013 – which it has fully assigned to existing projects.
“A further $1,636,307 has been allocated for 2013/14.
“The next Roads to Recovery program will run for five years, from 2014/15 to 2018/19.”
Mr Broadbent said the Australian Government was offering roads funding from two main sources, with the extension of the Roads to Recovery Program, along with $40 million per annum to 2018-19 for the continuation of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP).
“Funding for Round 4 of the HVSPP programme commences from the 2014/15 financial year, and will be available to state, territory and local governments,” Mr Broadbent said.
“Eligible applicants, including Councils, will be notified by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development when applications are open. This is expected in the coming months.
“It is expected that allocations for the new Roads to Recovery Program will be determined in the first half of 2014 and work has begun on the arrangements to apply during the period from July 2014 to June 2019.”
Mr Broadbent said councils were free to choose the projects on which they spent their Roads to Recovery funding and South Gippsland Shire Council could elect to use funds on the heavy vehicle bypass.
“I will continue to work closely with council to make sure our region has the best infrastructure for the 21st century. Too often rural communities have been left behind at the expense of the city,” he said.