Leongatha resident Andrew Grayden has come up with what he believes is a much better location for the town’s bypass but the railway station option has already been ruled out.
LEONGATHA resident and interstate truck driver, Andrew Grayden, believes VicRoads and the South Gippsland Shire Council are making a big mistake putting the bypass of Leongatha down Hughes and Long streets.
He believes strongly that the route will create traffic congestion at key points, especially where school traffic is concerned at Ogilvy Street, and the idea should be shelved in favour of his plan.
“I get the impression that the horse has bolted on this but I’ve put a lot of thought into it,” he said, saying the traffic along the South Gippsland Highway should continue straight through the court-house intersection and into the old Leongatha railway yards.
“It’s a better idea than going along Long Street. I’ve spoken to VicRoads about it and they’re just not interested. They’ve shut the door on it,” he said.
“The way I see it, the tricks and through traffic coming in to Leongatha from the Melbourne side should be directed through the rail yards via a roundabout at that end, under the bridge and out near the new Holden garage. You put another roundabout in there and the traffic can either continue on down the highway or through to Inverloch via Young Street.”
But council said the plan was done a dusted.
“It’s a pity you weren’t able to come to the meetings we had with the truck drivers when a lot of this was talked out,” Acting Mayor Cr Jeanette Harding said.
“We’ve had to work hard to get this through,” she said, noting that all stakeholders were onside including State and Federal government authorities.
“You haven’t started to spend the money so it can be changed,” insisted Mr Grayden.
“Nothing has happened until the construction has started and they start laying bitumen.
Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks chipped in saying VicTrack had been adamant that the rail land wasn’t surplus to its needs and under no circumstances would they be handing over any land for a by-pass.
“Frankly, I hope they do need the railway land in the future. If it ever got to the stage where this area needs rail services, we’ll be pleased they kept the land,” Cr Hutchinson-Brooks said.
But Mr Grayden was nothing if persistent.
“You’re already seeing congestion problems at the Salvation Army Church,” he said, claiming that there would be problems with a turning lane there.
He also said he was no stranger to coming up with ideas that made a difference.
“Not many people know that it was my idea to locate the pool on its present site, not the place the shire originally had in mind. I’m not expecting any recognition for that but I’d put this one in the same boat.
“It’s not too late the change to a better location for the bypass,” he said.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into this and would urge you to consider it before it is too late.”
Cr Harding offered to refer the plan to VicRoads despite the fact that it is well outside the time when extensive community consultation had taken place.
Rezoning in Long Street
Another South Gippsland Shire Council commentator, Paul Norton of Leongatha South, also raised some concern about the impact of the bypass on the amenity of homeowners in Long Street.
He says the shire should rezone the homes in Long Street to commercial to provide the owners with the opportunity to sell for re-use as highway services if increases in traffic, especially heavy truck transport, forced owners out.