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Time to talk bridge - again

VicRoads is coming back to the Yarrawonga Mulwala community for a final round of consultation in light of recent public debate surrounding the route for a new bridge.

RACHEAL WILLETT May 27, 2014 2:58pm

A series of community information sessions will be held from May 28 to June 22, in various locations, to provide everyone with an opportunity to seek information and ask questions about the three shortlisted route options – green, yellow and grey.

VicRoads Regional Director Bryan Sherritt confirmed the latest round of consultation had not originally been scheduled as part of the planning project.

“We have a concern that with all the emotional debate on the issue, in relation to the recent petition and the ‘Vote Green – Save the Bridge’ campaign in particular, a lot of the factual information has been a bit lost,” Mr Sherritt said.

“It is important that people can make an informed assessment on the bridge crossing and connection, based on factual information.

“This final round of community consultation will give people an opportunity to obtain factual information on the options for the new bridge crossing and to raise any issues or concerns about the implications of each option.”

Mr Sherritt outlined key features and key considerations for each of the short-listed routes. He focussed particularly on the Traffic Survey and Traffic Modelling carried out by VicRoads.

“A very detailed traffic survey and transport modelling has been completed and we are confident it does reflect issues in Yarrawonga Mulwala,” he said.

“The survey was carried out in 2010, so yes it is a couple of years old, but the traffic patterns won’t change dramatically in that period – the volume may increase to an extent but the traffic flow doesn’t change.”

The traffic survey was undertaken during one week over the busy Easter period and two weeks in an ‘off-peak’ period and involved a destination survey, parking survey, traffic counters and number plate recognition.

“We have had issues with people questioning how detailed it was, picking out bits and pieces, but we believe holistically it is pretty good. We (VicRoads) aren’t novices at this type of thing – we do this on a regular basis across the state.”

The traffic survey showed 95% of the vehicles crossing both bridges were classified as light vehicles – cars, utilities, etc. A total of 4.9% were trucks or buses.

And of all the traffic, on both bridges, 0.1% was articulated vehicles/road trains.

“It needs to be made clear that this is not a freight route – 95% of the traffic is local traffic,” Mr Sheritt said.

“In terms of people raising concerns about heavy vehicles crossing using the new crossing, our information shows this is by no means a key freight route. The bulk of heavy vehicle traffic flows through Tocumwal, some to an extent through Corowa and Albury-Wodonga.”

With regard to the cost of each of the shortlisted routes, Mr Sherritt said the price tag in terms of “very broad figures” was roughly the same, around $80 million.

He said a recommendation on the preferred bridge crossing and connection, based on detailed analysis and modelling, community consultation and key stakeholder meetings was expected to be made mid-2014.

“Both VicRoads and RMS will make recommendations to the Victorian and NSW government and the state governments will then make a decision,” Mr Sherritt said.

“At the end of the day this bridge requires funding from both state governments, so this is about getting to a consensus.”

                                                                      

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