A GROUP of local residents has been lobbying for the Western Highway duplication project to be built on an alternative route, which it says would be cheaper and have a lower impact on the environment.
KORS Inc formed in 2016 and wants Major Road Projects Victoria to build the Buangor section of the highway along a different route, which it calls the northern option.
The group submitted the route to Major Road Projects Victoria in 2016 but it was rejected.
However, KORS Inc secretary Russell Pearse said this option should still be considered because it would cause less destruction to the environment, Indigenous sites, and would be cheaper to build.
"It's a bit shorter, a lot flatter and avoids a large bridge and a set of ramps, so it stands to reason it would be cheaper and quicker to build," he said.
"If you're using the existing highway you've already got half of it cleared and it wouldn't disturb any local accesses, excepting minor safety alterations."
Mr Pearse said the route would run slightly south of the current highway, expect near the railway bridge near Hillside Road, where it would run slightly northward in an area which is already cleared.
He said it "definitely has no impact" on Langi Ghiran State Park.
Mr Pearse also said it would eliminate the need for property severance.
"With the natural corridors you don't cut six properties - you cut none," he said.
Mr Pearse said the route would benefit the environment.
"It reduces the amount of habitat the project destroys, and avoids breaking up what remains," he said.
"It also preserves critically endangered grassland communities, as well as the golden sun moth and other endangered species, and destroys one quarter the number of large old trees," he said.
Major Road Projects Victoria said the northern option was rejected because it would cost more than the current planned route and do more environmental damage.
In its Inquiry and Draft Planning Scheme the road authority stated the option was considered but it "significantly impacted vegetation of high and very high conservation significance".
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley also outlined her reasons for rejecting the option in a statement issued to Traditional Owners.
"I am satisfied that, based on the information received from the Victorian Government in building an alternate route, will have a significant economic cost impact," she wrote.
Ms Ley also stated the cost would be too great when the price of terminating current contracts was factored into the overall cost.
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