Sunday, July 14, 2024
6.1 C
Kilmore
- Advertisement -

Slow steps forward for completion of diamond interchange in Wallan

Popular Stories

By Colin MacGillivray

MAJOR Road Projects Victoria, MRPV, last week announced it would present a business case for south-facing Hume Freeway entry and exit ramps at Wallan’s Watson Street in 2024, paving the way for the completion of a diamond interchange.

Wallan residents and Mitchell Shire Council leaders have advocated for a Watson Street diamond interchange for years, arguing it would alleviate peak-hour traffic on the Northern Highway that, on some evenings, backs onto the freeway.

- Advertisement -

The project secured bipartisan support ahead of last year’s state election, with both Labor and the Liberal-Nationals coalition pledging $130 million for its completion.

The project is also contingent on federal funding, with the Federal Government pledging $50 million in 2020.

The project was plagued by inaction following the 2020 announcement, with the State Government arguing the former federal coalition government provided less than one per cent of its promised funding, while the coalition said the funding was contingent on benchmarks the State Government never achieved.

MRPV said it was investigating options for creating a full diamond interchange while upgrading Watson Street to improve road capacity and safety.

The government body said it would undertake community consultation and engagement this year and would finalise its business case in 2024.

Labor Member for Kalkallo Ros Spence said it was exciting to finally see progress on the project.

“Prior to the 2022 election, the Andrews Labor government made a commitment to deliver an upgrade to the Watson Street interchange and we’re getting on with it,” she said.

“Planning is now underway and I encourage all interested residents to sign up for updates at roadprojects.vic.gov.au/subscribe.”

Liberal Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Evan Mulholland said the project was progressing at a ‘snail pace’.

“It is great that the State Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to finally investing in the Wallan diamond,” he said.

“Planning and a business case will only be completed sometime next year, with no clear answer on when the first sod will be turned.”

Mr Mulholland said he was concerned the $50 million pledged for the diamond interchange by the former Federal Government could be rescinded as part of a review announced by federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King.

“Of course that money went nowhere because the Andrews government hadn’t even begun a business case,” he said.

Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell called Mr Mulholland’s words ‘absolute lies’.

“It’s a scare campaign. The status of [the ramps] is that they’re going ahead and that’s how it is,” he said.

“I might remind him that the only people who have promised funding for roads and never delivered are the Liberal Party. We have to go in and clean up the mess they left behind.

“He’s in the state party that promised a Kilmore bypass but never put money aside for it.”

Mitchell Shire Mayor Fiona Stevens welcomed MRPV’s announcement.

“The sooner this interchange can be delivered the sooner it can unlock our community and enhance people’s wellbeing,” she said.

“This project has been a priority for council and we have tirelessly advocated to see works begin. This interchange will significantly improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and enhance the safety of all road users.

“The Victorian Government made a $130 million election commitment for the Hume Freeway diamond interchange at Watson Street and council expects this project will begin once funding is confirmed in the state budget on May 23.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement Mbl -

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

  1. That’s good to see bring it on we will put up with the inconvenience whilst it being done because it will be a great outcome

Comments are closed.

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles