THE commencement of a study into the possible upgrade of Ford Road to become a major arterial bypass for large vehicles has evoked major concern from North Shepparton families and homeowners in the area including popular local wedding venue, Hurlstone Gardens.
The proposed upgrade would occur along Wanganui Road and Ford Road from the proposed river crossing to Grahamvale road to create an East-West Route linking the future Bypass route to the Shepparton Alternate Route.
Vicroads has been exploring options since 2012 and has sighted the Ford Road/Wanganui Road strip as the “best” option. Under the proposal, the East-West Route (Wanganui/Ford roads) would be upgraded to create a significant “major arterial route” suitable for accommodating vehicles including large road trucks.
Homeowners have created a united front under the banner ‘Ford Road Action Group’ and are determined to fight the proposal.
Action group member, Helen Sleep said, “Firstly, we are not against a second river crossing, however bypass roads are planned around residential areas not through them.
“The proposal to make Wanganui and Ford roads the major East-West route around the city will create significant issues including safety, noise, traffic congestion and pollution to the residential areas in north Shepparton.
“We need a long term, safe, purpose built road which will benefit the Greater Shepparton area, the local community and truck drivers. Ford Road is a quick fix solution, which will cause untold anguish to homeowners and local residents.”
The group says it is simply unsafe, stating that the road has already been attributed to multiple fatality intersections.
Helen continued, “In 2015 Ford Road was gazetted as a B-Double road by Greater Shepparton City Council without study or consultation and now they plan on increasing this traffic by building a “major arterial road” despite the fact that this route impacts three established and two planned housing estates as well as Rumbalara Aged Care Facility, daily traffic to six schools in close proximity and established designated Council Cyclist routes used by 8 groups 3 times a week. Not to mention that these plans will in turn decrease the housing value of properties in the vicinity by a quoted 30 percent with 8 metres planned to be stripped from landowners.
We’d question how any home owner would feel if they were told they were to lose 8 metres off the front of their property. All of this is without even mentioning the atmospheric or noise level pollution, which would be created from increased trucks and diesel engine exhausts.
“We’re not saying that a bypass route is not needed. What we are saying is that a purpose built truck route is what is needed and that Ford Road is not the road. The East-West link could be established to the north of Ford Road utilising undeveloped land with connections at the GV Highway. This alternative location for the link would alleviate a number of issues including existing traffic problems associated with already large volumes of local, school, agricultural and freight traffic along Ford and Verney roads.”
The current study has been created to explore all potential constraints associated with upgrading Ford Road and to come up with a functional design that will meet the purpose of the upgrade. The real question is will the design and purpose meet the needs of North Shepparton families and will they even have a say in the matter?