UPDATE Tuesday 4pm:
Speed restrictions are in place along a small section of the Western Highway at Buangor as works get underway.
Drivers are being asked to slow to 40 kilometres an hour along the short stretch.
Meanwhile, activists opposed to the highway have issued a call out for more people to join them on the ground.
Djab Wurrung spokesman Zellanach Djab Mara said activists are staying strong.
"We're still here, we're continuing to go through our porcesses," he said.
"We're very staunch, we're very focused, and we're where our ancestry has been for thousands of years - we don't plan on leaving soon."
MAJOR works will begin on a section of the Western Highway duplication project from mid-October, Major Road Projects Victoria has confirmed.
The roads authority will do a letter-box campaign in Ararat and surrounds this week informing residents of what to expect.
An excerpt of the letter reads:
"Following an agreement between the Victorian Government and Aboriginal applicants, who have challenged the decision of the Federal Government not to make a declaration of heritage protection in relation to areas impacted by the project, Major Road Projects Victoria has recommenced work.
"Over the next few weeks you will see us starting major construction within a 3.85 km section between Dobie Rd and Langi Ghiran Picnic Ground Road, adjacent to the existing highway.
"The agreement allows for major works to duplicate the existing Highway.
"Substantive works on the rest of the approved 12.5km alignment between Buangor and Ararat will not begin until a Federal Court decision is made on the appeal."
The letter states that works over the next few months will include:
- Vegetation removal. From mid-Octoberwe will begin to remove vegetation, including trees, from within the 3.85km section. These trees are not identified as culturally significant. Any trees with hollows (potential fauna habitat), will be retained on the site, seed will be retrieved, and some timber will be kept for community reuse. A zoologist will be on site during tree removal to monitor for wildlife and relocate as needed.
- Earthworks will include removing and stockpiling topsoil to prepare for construction of the Highway.
- Drainage. Work will include building table drains and installing culverts.
- Establishment of a site compound. We'll establish huts and amenities for workers at the corner of Hillside Road West and the Western Highway.
- Widening of the existing highway. We'll establish turning lanes on the Western Highway that will allow for vehicles to safely access the site.
Major Road Projects Victoria states in the letter people may notice machinery on site, noisy works, dust and some traffic changes on the existing Western Highway to keep drivers and our workers safe while we build the turning lanes.
Construction activities will be undertaken between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.
At times, works may be undertaken outside of these times, but the road authority said residents would receive warning if that was the case.
The news has been met with resistance by protesters who have been camped along the proposed construction sites since June 2018.
Through social media the Djab Wurrung protesters have issued a call out for more activists to join them on the ground.
More to come.
- Lawyers gear up for another Western Highway legal challenge
- Western Highway delay impacts not clear
- Federal minister denies tree protection
- State government, Louise Staley welcome highway decision
- Western Highway duplication fight to continue after federal decision
- Emergency services want Western Highway duplication
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