In order to make the investment affordable, Greater Shepparton City Council approved a five stage proposal to realise the Shepparton Bypass at its Ordinary Council Meeting held in May 2016. The current priority is Stage 1 – a single lane carriageway in each direction extending from the Midland Highway west of Mooroopna to the Goulburn Valley Highway in Shepparton North – a total distance of 10.05kms.
Two reports were commissioned to determine the economic benefits of the construction of Stage 1. The reports concluded the following economic benefits will be generated by the construction of this section of the Shepparton Bypass:
The 2017/18 State Budget allocates $10.2 million over three years to undertake preparatory works and land acquisition, which is a very welcome investment.
The total projected cost of Stage 1 is estimated to be $260 million, including all preparatory works, land acquisition and construction, and it is hoped that commitment to deliver the full Stage 1 will be given in advance of the 2018 State Government elections.
Ford Road will also serve as a critical link between the Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass / Goulburn Valley Highway and the Shepparton Alternate Route (Grahamvale Road and Doyles Road). Funding is also required to complete this link.
From 2012, in preparation for the Bypass, VicRoads further explored the option of a direct connection from the Bypass to the Shepparton Alternate Route (Grahamvale Road and Doyles Road). Wanganui Road and Ford Road were confirmed as the “best” option to serve this route. Once constructed, this route would be adopted by VicRoads as a major Arterial Road.
Council adopted the staged approach to delivering the Bypass at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 17 May 2016. However, the preferred western route of the Bypass dates back to the mid-1990s and, following the application of the Public Acquisition Overlay to land along the route in 2006, VicRoads has progressively purchased land along the route. Wanganui Road and Ford Road were subsequently identified by VicRoads as providing the best connection from the Shepparton Bypass to the Shepparton Alternate Route. The route was also identified and adopted as Council policy in 2006 when the route was included in the Greater Shepparton 2030 Strategy.
The roads will be designed to cater for cars and heavy vehicles including large trucks, as it will become a significant connection from the Bypass to the Shepparton Alternate Route.
However, the purpose of the current exercise is to explore the options for minimising impact on residents while also ensuring that the roads perform effectively and to modern standards.
Traffic modelling indicates that the highest use of the roads will be once Stage 1 of the Bypass is in place and that once the full Bypass is complete traffic volumes will be significantly less.
The modelling indicates that Wanganui Road will see a significant increase from around 2,200 vehicle movements each day, of which around 100 are heavy vehicles, to around 10,000 vehicles, of which around 1,100 would be heavy vehicles.
Ford Road sees a more modest increase, from current levels around 3,000 vehicles (of which 400 are heavy vehicles) to 5,000 vehicles (of which 600 would be heavy vehicles).
We do not know the full answer to that yet and this is the purpose of the Investigation Study. Council and VicRoads have engaged GTA Consultants Pty Ltd to explore all of the potential constraints associated with upgrading both roads and to prepare functional designs and costings that meet the purpose of any future upgrade.
As part of the Investigation Study, some site investigation works will take place onsite, including geotechnical investigations of pavements and alignment options, flood modelling and noise modelling. The aim is to seek physical improvements to intersections, running surfaces, etc. that will minimise the impact of these higher traffic numbers. Additional mitigation will also be explored for those areas or residents most affected by any adverse impacts that might result.
This is dependent on decisions and funding by the Victorian government, which Council anticipates to be sometime during 2018-2020. Council expects the upgrade works to then be undertaken in preparation for the Bypass.
It is uncertain at this early stage and the duration of works will depend on the final agreed scope of works.
Council will aim to ensure that the roads will be open to traffic during the works; however, residents should expect delays due to works potentially reducing the road to one lane. Pedestrian access will be provided during the works; however, its location may alter as the works progress.
That will be determined by the scope of any works required and the contractors who are delivering the work.
Council and VicRoads both have policies to maintain trees wherever possible and Council has recently adopted the Urban Forest Strategy 2017-2037 to increase the street trees across Greater Shepparton.
Council will determine appropriate measures to ensure drainage continues to function throughout any construction period.
Contractors will be required to specify how they will deal with all kinds of inclement weather during the contract.
For further information please contact Michael MacDonagh, Team Leader Strategic Planning, Greater Shepparton City Council on (03) 5832 9730.
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