A POSSIBLE new freeway connection, the planned Warragul ring road and the Drouin bypass have been discussed by Baw Baw planning officials at a Ratepayers & Citizens Association meeting.
This story was first published in the 14 November 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
The new connection, which planning officers stressed were not finalised and would not be implemented in the short- or medium-term, could see Dollaburn Road to Warragul’s north upgraded to connect with Lardners Track near the present freeway exit on Princes Way.
The link would allow traffic to avoid the increasingly congested Princes Way route when accessing Brandy Creek Road and an upgraded Lillico and Copeland’s Road.
“At the moment we have identified it as the future connection to the freeway,” Baw Baw director of Growth and Economic Development Matthew Cripps said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“This is just talking about future potential expansion into the network.”
Those plans are for development well into the future, but also discussed at the meeting were the changes to the construction, route and funding of the Warragul ring road through the new Waterford Rise estate and surrounding area.
Mr Cripps said the original plan for the bypass was dumped after a topography survey found there would be significant costs involved in reshaping the land for the road.
A new route for the road has since been developed, which includes “green spines” on hill crests and a more sensible road grades.
Crole Drive, the major road which connects Waterford rise to Princes Way, will form part of the bypass, ultimately connecting to Sutton Street.
Another road will run parallel to Pharaoh’s Road and connect to Dollaburn Road.
While the connections of these roads have not changed, the form they will take has seen major revisions.
Original plans were for a dual carriageway, but according to Mr Cripps, growth modelling suggests a standard two-lane road would cope with traffic demands into the future.
“The modelling that VicRoads has been undertaking has identified two lane is not necessary,” he said.
Asked if it would be sensible for the council to set aside extra land for potential future expansion, Mr Cripps said “it’s not warranted.”
“We have to run our asset base based on need,” he said.
“It’s about spending the right amount of money at the right time.”
“The challenge has been analysing need rather than gold plating the infrastructure.”
Mr Cripps said the Baw Baw 2050 plan was considered during planning.
A potential method of expansion in the future, if needed, would be changes to the make-up of the roads.
The present design includes on-street parking, a shared bike and pedestrian path on one side as well as dedicated pedestrian paths on both sides, nature strips on both sides and a line of trees between each of the two lanes.
“The cross section does have significant areas to expand into,” Mr Cripps said.
“That’s quite a significant road reserve with indented parking. [Expansion into] that would be [at the cost of quality of life], and that’s a question for the future.”
Copeland’s Road is also expected to have the same reserve design.
The bypass will be developed as construction of new estates continues, while funding for roads in new housing developments has changed.
Where council had previously been going to fund 60 per cent of road construction costs, developers will now pay all costs associated.
“New communities should be funding their own infrastructure, not the existing community,” Mr Cripps said.
Mr Cripps said where existing roads were upgraded the council would contribute, but when upgrades were required due to new development, developers would have to pay.
The 11.5km ring road will be maintained by the council but will have capacity for freight transport and a speed limit of 60km/h.
The planned 3.5km Drouin bypass will connect Princes Way to a new entrance point on Main South Road, travelling east and south of Chairo Christian School.
Mr Cripps said another connection from further west along Princes Way was also being considered.
“There is a resolution of council to consider an alternate connector road that will not bypass the township in the same way,” he said.
The bypass, like the Warragul ring road, will be freight capable, maintained by the council and have a 60 km/h speed limit.
The reason given for the connection was an improvement to travel times from Melbourne, despite the bypass connecting to the freeway exit on the east side of town.
Trafalgar bypass unlikely to happen any time soon
Asked if there were any plans to introduce a bypass of Trafalgar, Baw Baw director of Community Assets Phil Cantillon said there were no discussions underway.
“There are no discussions that we’re aware of that are raising a Trafalgar bypass at the moment,” he told the meeting.
He said a service road system similar to that in Yarragon, where local traffic can travel adjacent to the freeway without joining it, may be a solution for Trafalgar where the Freeway connects directly to local roads.
Baw Baw mayor Murray Cook, who served on the Narracan council at the time a survey asking residents if they wanted a bypass was conducted, was at the meeting and said one of two bypass routes proposed over 20 years ago was no longer an option due to housing development south of the freeway.
He said swampy land north of the town would make a northern bypass difficult.
The town voted no to a bypass.
“I do not think there will be a bypass in my lifetime,” Mr Cook said.
Both the bypasses proposed over 20 years ago would have seen a diversion around both Yarragon and Trafalgar.
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