Push for alternative freight routes

May 04, 2018

The Ford Rd Action Group has posed strong opposition to the proposed route aimed at becoming a key freight connector.

Alternative options are being considered to replace Ford and Wanganui Rds as a developed freight route following a public consultation period.

Greater Shepparton City Council’s chief executive said should the proposed upgrade route be relocated, it would likely move to a nearby northern connector running parallel to Ford Rd.

But the council’s chief executive officer Peter Harriott also said route changes would mean costs and time associated with the project would be stretched out.

Earlier this year, councillors had voted to release a feasibility study into a proposed upgrade aiming to ensure the roads become a key strategic east-west link between Stage 1 of the long-awaited Shepparton Bypass and the Shepparton Alternative Route, for a month of public comment.

During the consultation period, which closed late month, the council received ‘‘a number of community requests for alternative alignments to realise the east-west link’’, according to a council statement.

‘‘Council is further assessing these suggested alternative alignments, and the opportunities and constraints,’’ a council statement read.

The council will now undertake further consultation with parties along the alternative alignments.

‘‘Whilst council is considering the opportunities and constraints of the alternative alignments, council will also continue to engage with those submitters who raised issues,’’ its statement continued.

Some councillors had opposed the draft feasibility study when the council voted for it to be released.

This followed a highly vocal campaign lodged by Ford Rd residents opposing the proposed route due to safety and amenity concerns.

Mr Harriott said the council had been considering the submissions, including the alternative alignments suggested.

‘‘They’re just generally combinations of existing roads, proposals to go through private property, or a combination, all north of the alignment, all the way up to Congupna,’’ he said.

‘‘The community have asked for alternatives to be considered; council will bring all that information back before making a decision on it.’’

Asked about how an alternative route might impact the project, Mr Harriott said preliminary work done on alterative proposals suggested they were much more expensive, and would have time implications because they would involve land acquisition and such processes could take many years to resolve.

Letters will be distributed to those along the community-suggested alignments this month, with the council set to consider a final report at a meeting later this year.

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