Opinion

Letters to the editor

by
May 16, 2018

An aerial view of Shepparton's central business district.

Here are facts over bypass

- Allan Wilson, Shepparton

I wish to point out to the businesses and residents of Shepparton that we are being misled that the proposed bypass road for the city will take trucks out of the Central Business District.

I refer to a leading article in The News (May 8) where it says that ‘‘the goal of the... project is to draw B-double trucks away from Shepparton’s CBD... with the first 10km encompassing the Midland Hwy’’. In that article, our civic leaders were hoping for money in the Federal Budget. When that money did not eventuate, our Mayor Kim O’Keeffe reiterated those thoughts (News, May 12) in lamenting the money was not forthcoming, and that it was ‘‘desperate for it to happen sooner or later’’ because the ‘‘central business district was seeing more trucks on a daily basis’’.

However, the ‘‘bypass project’’, as it is currently planned, will be of little benefit to High St, Shepparton, and McLennan St, Mooroopna. How so? You may ask. Don’t take my word for it, look at the evidence.

1.Stage one is not planned as a Midland Hwy bypass. The proposed route East-west along Wanganui, Ford, Grahamvale and Doyles Rds is for only one lane in each direction, with numerous roundabouts, a set of lights and 60km/h sections. Stage two is a north-south bypass.

2.For Midland Hwy traffic, the proposed East-west link is about 8km longer and five minutes slower than the current route along High St, even with all the stops for traffic lights. I know because I have measured the travel time by following transports along each of the routes.

3.The new road is not even called a bypass. It is officially called a ‘‘link road’’ that will only serve vehicles coming from Kyabram/Echuca and heading east towards Benalla (as well as vehicles travelling from Tatura towards Tocumwal). The expected traffic volume along this link is not projected to increase much above current levels (see Wanganui Road & Ford Road, Shepparton, Feasibility Study). VicRoads acknowledges this is the case. Our civic leaders should not be referring to it as a bypass.

.The bulk of the Midland Hwy traffic will still run along High and McLennan Sts. This massive expenditure will not draw B-doubles out of the CBD, as is claimed.

Our community leaders are all reported as supporting the project on the basis that it will reduce trucks in the city area. Yet they seem unaware that none of the plans include an East-West Midland Hwy bypass that will take traffic out of the CBD.

If I am wrong, please tell me how it is so.

I agree that we need a Midland Hwy bypass. That is a double-lane highway without speed restriction, which is more than a link road that stops and starts through the northern suburbs of Shepparton. Perhaps it is fortunate the current plan missed the budget papers for this year.

There is still time for a better plan to be developed one that will take traffic out of the CBD.

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