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Marsh bypass still on the table

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Woolpack Rd on the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour, where the proposed Bacchus Marsh Eastern Link will pass through. Photo - Meg Kennedy

By Meg Kennedy

Impacts on native wildlife, agriculture and the Avenue of Honour are main concerns for the proposed Bacchus Marsh Eastern Link Road.

Following community information sessions earlier this year, VicRoads has released a summary report regarding the proposed bypass.

Four ‘study areas’ for the road were presented to the public in May this year.

First announced in May 2018, the link is set to connect Gisborne Road in the north and Bacchus Marsh-Geelong Road in the south, via the Western Freeway, diverting freight vehicles from the town centre.

Major concerns for the study areas included impacts on heritage areas – notably the Avenue of Honour, the irrigation district, and the Merrimu development.

Only one of the options (study area D) would not cross the Avenue of Honour, although this option was noted to have the “most environmental impacts”.

Positives for the study areas included accessibility and design.

Regional Roads Victoria Acting Regional Director (Western) Brad Prior told the Moorabool News in a statement that “community feedback will be considered alongside a range of technical, environmental and cultural assessments to determine a preferred route.”

“There are a number of complexities associated with the project, including the Avenue of Honour, and these need to be fully explored and understood to make a fair and balanced decision,” he said.

“We’ll continue to work with the Bacchus Marsh community to develop plans for a link road which will remove the need for heavy freight vehicles to travel through the centre of Bacchus Marsh, boosting safety, reducing congestion and improving travel times for everyone travelling through the area.”

More than 200 people attended the community information sessions in May, with 54 feedback forms submitted by attendees, and 198 people providing online feedback.

The full summary can be viewed at https://regionalroads.vic.gov.au/have-a-say/western-online-reports/bacchus-marsh-eastern-link-planning-study-engagement-summary-2019.

VicRoads is expected to present options for further community feedback in February 2020.