REGION - The final steps for planning to provide a safer, four lane divided Western Highway between Ararat and Stawell are underway, with VicRoads currently exhibiting plans for a route option, and the associated Environment Effects Statement and Planning Scheme Amendments.
VicRoads project director, Mick McCarthy said the plans, design concepts and EES documents are currently on display at local shire offices and community venues, with the final date of the public exhibition being this Thursday, February 14.
"We invite community members and interested people to come along, view the plans and have their say on the highway alignment option identified by VicRoads as part of the planning process," Mr McCarthy said.
The exhibition details VicRoads' proposed alignment option to continue the four-lane divided highway for 27 kilometres from west of Ararat to the eastern outskirts of Stawell.
"The upgraded highway will include sealed road shoulders, safety barriers, protected turning lanes, intersection improvements, and a bypass of the Great Western township," Mr McCarthy said.
"The exhibition of Planning Scheme Amendments for public comment will also secure the planning reservation for the eventual upgrade of the Western Highway to full freeway conditions between Ararat and Stawell.
"We have worked with the community to identify options and their potential impacts on the environment, and giving consideration to the associated social and cultural heritage issues.
"The formal public exhibition process gives people a chance to have a say on the project by making a submission to an independent panel reporting to the Minister for Planning," Mr McCarthy said.
VicRoads' EES and Draft Planning Scheme can be viewed during normal business until this Thursday at: VicRoads Western Highway Project Office, 237 Ring Road, Wendouree, Ararat Rural City Council Office, Vincent Street, Ararat, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Town Hall, Main Street, Stawell, Department of Transport Library, Level 5, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne (Phone 03 9655 8600 before visiting), Ararat Regional Library, corner Queen and Barkly Streets, Ararat, Stawell Library, Sloane Street, Stawell (Phone 03 5358 1275 before visiting). Full documentation can also be viewed and downloaded from the VicRoads website at: vicroads.vic.gov.au/whp
To date $505 million has been committed by the Victorian and Australian Governments for the progressive upgrading of the Western Highway for 110 kilometres between Ballarat and Stawell.
Current funding will enable planning to be completed through to Stawell. The allocated funding has secured the construction of the highway through to Buangor.