ARARAT Rural City Council will push for the Ararat Western Highway bypass to be built as close to the city as possible to maintain tourism numbers.
A motion was passed at council’s April meeting on Tuesday after VicRoads sought formal confirmation of what the municipality thought was the best route.
A corridor north of Ararat has been identified as the preferred route by VicRoads and this was supported by council.
Cr Colin McKenzie said the VicRoads plan covered all the criteria council had looked at during the past two years.
“It has to be clear of the existing township to allow for growth,” he said.
“We have watched in other areas where it has gone too close to the town.”
There were eight priorities identified for the route as part of the resolution passed by council.
This includes a connection to the Pyrenees Highway at the eastern off ramp, with full diamond interchanges.
Over or underpasses at Warrak Road and Saw Pit Flat Road to allow for traffic were also listed a priority.
Council also said a major service centre should be built at the eastern approach to Ararat, around where the existing centre is.
Cr Paul Hooper said a band of interest was presented by VicRoads quite some time ago and somewhere within that band they will choose their preferred route.
“Within in the band there are two or three different options for them,” he said.
“Particularly in relation to the northern corner of the road which goes close to the motorcycle track, the prison and the abattoir, there is in effect 1700 people there at any given time.
“If you look at the primarily at the population, that is our concern.
“We have also in a long term strategic document identified this northern edge of the city as potential for growth for industrial development in the longer term.
“So we need to recognise that as part of our submission to VicRoads.”
Cr Gwenda Allgood was the only one to vote against the proposal.
She said she had concerns about the bypass being too far from Ararat.
“I would like to see it brought closer to town,” she said.
Chief executive Andrew Evans said council had already nominated the closest route within VicRoads’ band as the preferred option for the bypass.