The Mirror News

BLACK SPUR REALIGNMENT, A LONG TIME COMING

• David Gellion and Ray Paterson from Vic Roads pictured here with Mayor Ray Argento say project will have little or no impact on the Koonwarra Fossil site at Minns Rd.

THE Australian and Victorian Governments have jointly funded $50 million for the realignment of the section of the South Gippsland Highway known as ‘Black Spur’.

“This has been around since the late 90’s,” said Vic Roads Project Director, Ray Paterson.

He said at a meeting at Council Chambers on Wednesday August 2 that he was keen to share a bit of detail and start the engagement process with Council and key stakeholders such as Landcare and land owners etc.

Ray is a local and grew up on a dairy farm at Berry’s Creek and has risen to be the man in charge of this very important project.

David Gellion, Project Delivery Manager for SE Projects at Vic Roads joked that if there are any problems just get in touch with Ray’s parents and they’ll sort it out.

Tenders for contractors will close late 2017 and the Tender award will happen in early 2018.

The whole project will be completed by early 2021.

There are a number of project challenges such as:

Very hilly terrain with large earth cuts up to 18 metres in height and a restricted access to bridge sites and to large central cut.

Construction of two long bridges up to 130 metres long and the need to minimise the impacts on the environment including vegetation and minimise the impacts on the rail trail.

There are a large number of Key Stakeholders including the South Gippsland Shire; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority; The Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management;

Museum Victoria and the Nerrena Landcare Group.

The realignment will improve safety and amenity, reduce travel times and freight costs and improve access to agricultural, commercial and industrial centres and to tourist destinations.

The project scope is to:

  • Realign over 3.4km length of the South Gippsland Highway
  • Construct two lane two-way road with sealed shoulders
  • Bridge crossings of Tarwin River at two locations
  • Upgraded intersections at Caithness Road and Minns Road
  • Installation of safety barriers including centreline barrier
  • Provision of intersection street lighting and underpass lighting
  • New underpass for Great Southern Rail Trail
  • Realignment of Great Southern Rail Trail at second river crossing
  • Landscaping and architectural works

4000 cars and 1000 heavy vehicles (8 times the state average) per day use that stretch of road with16 casualty crashes over the years. There are 9 substandard curves.

Cr Edwards asked if there might be a problem with the ropes down the middle of the road. “There seems to be a lot of concern about that,” she said.

“The rope down the middle will reduce chances of head on collisions,” David Gellion said. “But that could change.”

Mayor Ray Argento asked if the Rail Trail would be shut down during construction.

“In reality there will be closures,” Ray Paterson replied.

There will be a Community Consultation held in Koonwarra on August 9, 2017 from 2-6pm.

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