Ararat and Buangor residents have taken advantage of the latest VicRoads community information session on the western Highway duplication project.
About 20 people attended the first hour of the seven-hour drop-in session at Ararat RSL on Wednesday afternoon.
VicRoads staff were on hand to answer questions on the Buangor to Ararat duplication project, which had its contract awarded on Tuesday.
Works on the 12.5km duplication project will include:
- an upgrade to two lanes in each direction, with additional turning lanes
- a new bridge over the railway line
- two new bridges over Hopkins River
- an interchange at Hillside Road, with entry and exit ramps.
The construction for the upgrade is expected to take about two years to complete.
The plans displayed by VicRoads also included multiple ‘wildlife crossings’ suspended by wires and poles above the new dual-lane highway to allow animals such as possums to cross safely.
There were also mock-ups of electronic travel time signs similar to those on arterial roads around Melbourne.
However some pre-construction work, including fence building, will be completed before major construction begins.
Labor candidate for Ripon at this years state election Sarah De Santis attended the early part of the information session.
She said it was great that VicRoads were again holding community consultation in Ararat.
“Certainly there are questions about the fences that are starting to go up now and access to properties, and there has been very practical advice offered by VicRoads,” Ms De Santis said.
“We have got people here who are genuinely interested in the process. There was one gentleman here who keen to know sporting facilities were within the freeway bypass as he felt this would be the new marker for the town.
“He didn’t want people to have to cross the freeway to get to the sporting grounds.”