THE Draft Wanganui and Ford Road, Shepparton Feasibility Study Design Report (draft report) as part of the Shepparton Bypass Plan was released for public consultation following the Ordinary Council Meeting last week, but a group of local residents along Ford Road are urging the community to read the document closely and consider the dangerous and disruptive implications that could arise if the road were to go ahead as outlined in the current plan.
Ford Road Action Group members attended the council meeting and were disappointed with the outcome of the draft report, saying that it contains sections where correct processes were not followed and that while alternative options to Ford Road were said to have been investigated, a report obtained by the group from VicRoads shows only the Ford Road option was explored.
Ford Road Action Group members, Susan Daniel and Helen Sleep said, “We are pleased that at the meeting some of the councillors acknowledged that this is a significant residential area, which was not considered in the original report carried out in 2006.
“But, upon going over the report we noticed that there were sections where processes that needed to be followed, were not.
“They also didn’t even look at other locations. We have a few ideas on locations that we have looked into just north of Ford Road such as along the power lines, or using Grace Road and restoring the road through the old Radio Australia site, or the cheapest option is to utilise the already purpose built highway.
“Residents are also unhappy with the proposed Ford Road option as some will lose 7m to 8m of their front yards.
“The current situation is not good with trucks going through the CBD, but there are similar reasons we don’t want the bypass going through Ford Road.
“We’re putting together a report and are prepared to go all the way to VCAT if needed.
“We urge the community to go into council offices and get a copy of the report. Collect your information, compile your objections and get it to council and if you have any questions, ask the councillors.”
The Ford Road route was identified as the best option for an arterial east-west connection between the Goulburn Valley Highway and the Shepparton Alternate Route from at least 2006, with the adoption and implementation of the Greater Shepparton 2030 Strategy 2006 and recent strategies undertaken in coordination with VicRoads, including the Greater Shepparton Freight and Land Use Strategy 2013.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe said, “Council is aware there are residential properties along Ford and Wanganui Roads that may be impacted and sought to understand the design constraints and any issues it may raise.
“Council undertook pre-draft consultation with land owners and occupiers of land along Ford and Wanganui Roads in April and May 2017 and invited interested parties to attend drop-in sessions to ensure all issues were known at the pre-draft stage. Freight operators were also invited to attend these workshops,” Cr O’Keeffe said.
Council received 16 pre-draft submissions outlining a variety of concerns and further issues that should be addressed as part of the investigation. Council and VicRoads undertook additional assessments to further inform the investigation including assessment of intersection treatments, a road safety audit, a landscape master plan, flood modelling and an acoustic assessment.
The findings of the Draft Report estimate that the total cost of works as part of this stage would equate to $100.64M and includes a concept design to increase the road reserve cross section width for Wanganui and Ford Roads creating three distinct cross sections for various sections of the route, and provide intersection upgrades along with a landscape master plan for the ultimate design of the entire route.
“We invite affected land owners and occupiers of land along Ford and Wanganui Roads to attend a number of one-on-one workshops with council officers, VicRoads officers and GTA Consultants Pty Ltd over the course of March and April,” Cr O’Keeffe said.
An appointment can be arranged by calling the Building and Planning Department on (03)5832 9730.
The closing date for submissions on the Draft Report is Monday, April 23, 2018.