IT HASN’T been funded yet.
And there’s no telling when the State Government will find the $51 million needed to realign a killer, 3.4km section of the South Gippsland Highway near Koonwarra known locally as ‘The Bluck Spur’.
But Vicroads is certainly doing its level best to raise expectations about the potential for an early start to works on the notorious section of the highway.
Last Thursday, September 17, they staged a drop-in information session in the Koonwarra Hall which attracted everyone from property owners whose land will be compulsorily acquired for the project, to local residents, regular road users and those who had nothing better to do than come in for a sticky beak.
The plans certainly look impressive with a great loop to be cut from the highway as it curves south towards Caithness Road, with the new alignment heading straight across the West Branch of the Tarwin River requiring two major bridges and raised approaches.
It will be a huge improvement but when, when will it happen.
“Four options were canvassed heavily with the community and this is the preferred alignment,” said a Vicroads officer at the info session.
“The State Government allocated $211,000 to update the planning and Vicroads has spent 12 months getting to this point.
“A business plan has been done and it’s basically ready to go. It will go up for State Government funding now and we just have to wait and see.”
As good as the new alignment will be for road users, especially stock transports, milk tankers and other heavy haulage users, the realignment will also be a boon for the Great Southern Rail Trail allowing the shire and the trail committee to complete the missing link.
“The rail trail will be able to progress as far as it can and we will do the underpasses for the rail trail as part of the overall project,” said Vicroads’ integrated transport and land use team leader, Chris Padovan.
“There has been a profile of crashes in this area and it is acknowledged that the road is below standard.”
As well as a marked improvement in driving conditions and safety, he said it was also about improving productivity for business and industry, especially the agricultural sector.
“We’ve already had a lot of community and individual stakeholder engagement and the overwhelming response has been very positive,” he said.
Those seeking to make additional comment can email Vicroads on EasternEngagement@roads.vic.gov.au