The principle of the use of Ford and Wanganui Roads as the direct connection between the Stage 1 of the Bypass and the Shepparton Alternative Route (Grahamvale Road and Doyles Road) has been established in Council policy for some time. The Draft Report sought to determine how these roads could be designed to cater for increases in car and heavy vehicle use.
At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 20 February 2018, Council resolved to endorse the Draft Report and to release it for public comment for a period of eight weeks, commencing on 26 February 2018 and concluding on 23 April 2018.
Note: At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on the 16 June 2020, Council resolved to transfer all materials relating to the upgrade of Ford and Wanganui Roads to the Department of Transport. Council will retain the management of Ford and Wanganui Roads, and will remain a significant stakeholder in the preparation of any future upgrade. However the future planning, design and implementation will be the responsibility of the State Government.
This webpage outlines the process that Council and Regional Roads Victoria undertook in planning for the upgrades of Ford and Wanganui Roads, and the community consultation that was undertaken from 2017 to 2018 to inform this project.
In 2006, Amendment C33 to the Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme applied a Public Acquisition Overlay (PAO) to the land identified for the preferred Goulburn Valley Highway Shepparton Bypass (Bypass) alignment. The full 36km four lane Bypass is estimated to cost just over $1.3 billion. Regional Roads Victoria has since acquired a number of land holdings along the route.
Given the significant cost involved in realising the project, Council adopted a five stage approach to delivering the Bypass at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 17 May 2016.
Stage 1 of the Bypass is the current priority – a single lane carriageway in each direction extending from the Midland Highway and Excelsior Avenue intersection to the west of Mooroopna to the Goulburn Valley Highway in Shepparton North – a total distance of 10.05kms.
In recognition of the importance of Stage 1 of the Bypass to Shepparton and Mooroopna, Regional Roads Victoria received $10.2 million in funding in the 2017/18 State Budget to take forward design and early works for Stage 1 of the Bypass.
When Stage 1 of the Bypass is constructed, Ford Road and Wanganui Road will become a key east-west link providing a direct connection between Stage 1 of the Bypass and the Shepparton Alternative Route (Grahamvale Road and Doyles Road) for traffic moving west-east and west-south. It will also help to realise a freight supply chain network around Mooroopna and Shepparton.
Ford Road and Wanganui Road were identified in the Greater Shepparton Freight and Land Use Study as the best option to realise a direct connection between the Goulburn Valley Highway and the Shepparton Alternative Route. This Strategy was adopted by Council in 2013. However, the idea has a long history, and a proposal to use Wanganui Road and Ford Road as such a direct connection was included in the Greater Shepparton 2030 Strategy Plan in 2006.
Council is aware that there are many residential properties along Ford and Wanganui Roads that may be impacted to some degree by the proposed upgrade, and sought to understand the design constraints and any issues that the upgrade may raise for local residents and businesses.
Council wrote to 700 land owners and occupiers of land along Ford and Wanganui Roads in April and May 2017 inviting interested parties to attend drop-in sessions. The purpose of these one-to-one workshops was to ensure that all issues associated with any future upgrade of Ford and Wanganui Roads were known, and that the scope of the investigation was thorough and robust.
30 people attended the Ford Road workshop held on 19 April 2017 and provided comments from Linda Court, Rosina Court, Matilda Drive, Jersey Crescent, Ryeland Drive, Holstein Court, Ayrshire Way, Ann Wood Nook, Botany Crescent and Mootwingee Crescent.
A similar exercise was undertaken for Wanganui Road in May 2017 and a drop-in session held on 7 June 2017.
Freight operators were also invited to attend these workshops.
Following this pre-draft consultation phase, Council and Regional Roads Victoria undertook the following additional assessments to further inform the investigation:
16 pre-draft submissions were received by Council up to December 2017. The majority of these submissions were identical and objected to Ford Road serving as an arterial east-west link. One submission supported the realisation of an arterial east-west link along Ford Road given the critical need to connect Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass with the Shepparton Alternative Route.
GTA Consultants Pty Ltd completed the Draft Report taking into consideration the issues identified during the consultation phase, as well as the findings and recommendations included in the additional assessments.
The findings of the Draft Report can be summarised as follows, it:
It is important to note that the investigation study was not a review of alignment options for an east-west route. As discussed previously, the use of Ford and Wanganui Roads as the direct connection between Stage 1 of the Bypass and the Shepparton Alternative Route (Grahamvale Road and Doyles Road) is adopted Council policy.
There are significant regional benefits in realising the upgrade of the route:
There are significant regional and local benefits in realising the upgrade of the route:
The Draft Report estimated the total cost for all works required to allow Ford and Wanganui Roads to act as an arterial east-west link to be $100.64 million.
There are no firm plans or a confirmed timescale for any upgrade of Ford and Wanganui Road. Any future upgrade is likely to be dependent upon securing full funding for Stage 1 of the Bypass.
During the consultation period held from 23 February to 23 April 2018, Council received a number of enquiries and submissions that requested Council to investigate alternative alignments to realise the east-west link. In response to these requests, Council undertook additional consultation to consider the opportunities and constraints of these community-suggested alternative alignments.
Letters to land owners immediately adjacent to these four community-suggested alternative alignments were sent in early May 2018, and Council invited all land owners to provide feedback on these alternative alignments.
One-to-one workshops with land owners along these alternative alignments were held in May 2018 to meet with Council officers and GTA Consultants Pty Ltd to discuss any concerns.
Following this further consultation period, Council officers and Regional Roads Victoria reviewed all feedback, comments and submissions received both following the consultation phase of the Draft Wanganui Road and Ford Road Shepparton Feasibility Study Design Report 2018, and the current targeted consultation with land owners adjacent to the four community-suggested alternative alignments.
In mid-2019, the responsibility for planning and designing changes to Wanganui and Ford Roads was formally transferred from Regional Roads Victoria to Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV), a dedicated government body charged with planning and delivering major road projects for Victoria. MRPV is part of the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority, which was established as an Administrative Office in relation to the Department of Transport.
MRPV merged the business cases for the upgrade for Wanganui and Ford Roads into the Bypassing Shepparton business case, which is currently being prepared for consideration in a future State Government budget. The Bypassing Shepparton business case collates the planning work and the business cases for three major road projects that are interconnected with one another: Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass, upgrades to the Shepparton Alternative Route, and upgrades to Ford and Wanganui Roads.
As a result, the intent to prepare an updated Draft Report for consideration by Council and the wider community has been superseded by work conducted by MRPV, with the future planning, design and, ultimately, the implementation and construction of any east-west arterial link being subject to future funding and consideration by the State Government.
Council retains the management of Wanganui Road and Ford Road and will remain a significant stakeholder for future planning and implementation works.
At the Ordinary Council Meeting to be held on the 16 June 2020, Council resolved to transfer all materials relating to the upgrade of Ford and Wanganui Roads (including all submissions received) to the Department of Transport.
Further community consultation would be undertaken by the relevant State Government agency prior to any upgrade of Wanganui and Ford Roads.