Put Shepparton bypass on the map

By John Lewis

We asked prominent stakeholders in the business and transport industry for their reaction to the news that the Victorian Government has delayed the release of the business case for the Shepparton Bypass until next year.

Here is what they said:

Peter Hill

General manager of Shepparton-based transport company Kreskas Bros:

The bypass was first talked about under the John Howard government.

It's vital for our region and it's not something for the future — it's something for now.

It's not an aspiration, it's an overdue necessity.

There's only one river crossing, and if the (Peter Ross Edwards) causeway is closed for some reason, that means an extra 65km round trip through Murchison to cross the Goulburn River.

Also, any trucks travelling between Doyles Rd and Mooroopna face 12 sets of traffic lights, and travelling through main streets in urban areas of Shepparton and Mooroopna.

This means vehicles up to 68 tonne and 26m long are passing close to parking and exiting cars and pedestrian traffic.

From an industry point of view, we don't want to have to be using streets in and around central Shepparton, we would much prefer to be out of town on the safety of a bypass.

Greater Shepparton City Council CEO Peter Harriott.

Peter Harriott

Greater Shepparton City Council chief executive:

We have been lobbying for a bypass for two decades.

Earlier this year we went to Canberra and met the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to present our case and we acknowledged the state government's contribution.

On October 22 we wrote to (Transport Minister) Jacinta Allan highlighting the importance of a bypass and respectfully requested that the business case be completed on time.

We have spoken to previous ministers about this — this story goes on and on.

We fully endorse (Kreskas Bros general manager) Peter Hill's comment that this bypass is "not an aspiration — it is an overdue necessity".

In the late 1990s it was said that duplication of the Goulburn Valley Hwy would be a continuous set of works. It never happened.

It has been six years since the Nagambie bypass was completed.

If we had continued with the Shepparton bypass then, it would have been done and dusted by now — and at a reasonable cost.

Peter Johnson

Goulburn Valley Hwy Shepparton Bypass Action Group chair:

The safety and amenity of Shepparton and its CBD and urban areas are being seriously and detrimentally affected by the numbers of vehicles, particularly trucks, which are forced to pass through the centre of the city to access other areas and exits.

Shepparton Chamber of Commerce president John Anderson.

John Anderson

Shepparton Chamber of Commerce president:

We've needed this for so long — particularly a second river crossing.

We just can't improve the CBD until we get the trucks out.

Trucks travelling east and west have decimated High St and it's a similar story with north-south traffic on Wyndham St.

From a business point of view, we could do so much better if we could get the trucks out.

A really good example is Benalla, which used to have the Hume Hwy running through.

Now it's been bypassed it's beautiful and they have reclaimed their city.

Also, with the new Shepparton super school there will be much more bus traffic travelling east and west, creating safety issues.

Committee for Greater Shepparton chief executive Sam Birrell.

Sam Birrell

Chief executive of Committee for Greater Shepparton:

I have spoken to Major Road Projects Victoria and they said the business case would be available in November; now they are saying next year.

I am disappointed, but the critical thing is, it seriously needs to be done for it to be considered for next May's budget.

We have $208 million from the Federal Government and we need to get that capital working.

The state government needs to come to the party, and the business case is part of the whole jigsaw.