Anxious wait for route to be chosen

December 06, 2017

Locals pictured in the main street of Rutherglen last weekend while a truck barges up the narrow street.

It’s now a waiting game for residents as VicRoads collates traffic data collected over the past week to determine the best road network for Rutherglen’s Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route.

Earlier this year residents aired concerns about potential routes at a public meeting with VicRoads.
However, at the end of the day, residents are happy to get the trucks out of the main street of Rutherglen.
Chair of Destination Rutherglen Greg Duncan said residents were eagerly awaiting the return of the traffic planning study conducted by VicRoads.
“We need to wait and see what they show but wherever it goes it is going to cause difficulties for some people on the preferred route, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“Whatever they do, they need to make sure they minimise the difficulties for whatever route is chosen and that’s really important.”
There has been a lot of talk about Up River Road being a potential route, which has angered some residents in regards to safety concerns with those living along the road with young children being picked up and dropped off by the school bus.
Mr Duncan said if that was the chosen route then something had to be done to make the road network along there safer for the children accessing the school bus.
“There are ways around that, they can very easily put stopping points off the road and I don’t think that’s a strong argument as you see the buses picking up kids on the Murray Valley Highway which is much busier. That’s not to say they shouldn’t make every effort to help those people,” he said.
“Everyone talks about Up River Road but it’s probably premature at this stage, we don’t know where it’s going to go.
“It’s just a waiting game now but I am very pleased to see VicRoads doing their homework because it has been a long time since any studies were done.”
Mr Duncan said it was accepted that the town would not get rid of every truck in the main street.
“There are a number of roads that come into Rutherglen, the Chiltern Road, the Springhurst Road and there’s local trucks, it’s the through traffic that we are trying to get rid of,” he said.
Yarrawonga livestock and rural transporter Kevin Keenan said at the end of the day truck drivers do not really care how far out of town the alternative route is, just as long as it is a safe, wide road that is easy to navigate corners on.
“If they do it correctly there’s a big opportunity for them to put a proper road in from Corowa, through Rutherglen and to Springhurst that goes back onto the Hume Highway,” he said.
Someone that couldn’t be happier that there is movement on the Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route is former Indigo Shire Councillor and Re-Route Rutherglen campaigner Roberta Horne.
“Many people do not understand that the Logic Distribution Centre is the 10th largest dry port in the world – its function is to avoid congestion at Melbourne and Brisbane sea Ports,” she said.
“As it is on Indigo Shire’s doorstep there are huge implications for the small towns of Barnawartha, Chiltern, Rutherglen and Wahgunyah due to the increasing size and frequency of trucks servicing the facility.
“The roll out of long term strategic plans will certainly create many employment opportunities but also impact on local road networks.
“This is why we are so pleased that action is finally being taken by VicRoads to improve safety and amenity in our region.”
The data sets from the placement of cameras and traffic counters for the Origin to Destination study will identify a suitable route for a heavy vehicle deviation away from Main Street, Rutherglen.
Ms Horne has praised the community led Re-Route-Rutherglen campaign which not only attracted $4 million in state and federal funding but also gave residents the opportunity to record their opinions via Australia’s first “Pictition”.
“We’ve waited a long time for a solution to this problem and it’s wonderful that VicRoads engagement processes recognise the importance of listening to local residents and stakeholders,” she said.

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