Residents are cheering after learning the final planning study (Origin and Destination Study) for Rutherglen’s Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route got underway last week.
Cameras and traffic counters have been set up around the Rutherglen district as VicRoads gathered data for the Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route.
VicRoads Planning Manager Rebecca Steer said nine cameras were installed last Thursday.
“The cameras will be in place for three days, while 16 tube counters will be around for one week,” she said.
The data will notify the Origin to Destination Study, tracking popular travel routes, peak travel times and heavy vehicle behaviour.
Someone that couldn’t be happier that there is movement on the Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route is former Indigo Shire Councillor and Re-Route Rutherglen campaigner Roberta Horne.
“This is the very last step before they start doing the work on the route, they are serious because VicRoads have got all the money and it didn’t go to the state government like it usually does, it went directly to them,” she said.
“So they have $4 million dollars, $2 million from state government and $2 million from federal government.
“The cost of this last study will be somewhere between $600,000 and $800,000, with the rest going to the works.”
Ms Horne said in her mind there was only one route that met the criteria – Up River Road.
“It had to be an established road network that just needed to be upgraded,” she said.
Ms Horne said residents were over the moon that the planning study was finally here and that construction to
upgrade an existing road network is expected to begin in late 2018.
While the cameras have stopped recording data, the tube counters are still in place to collect information until tomorrow (Thursday).
Ms Steer said the recording devices would take a video of traffic activity and that footage would be manually matched up by an analyst who looks at what vehicles were coming in, the number plate, where they end up and travel time.
“It’s important to know that data is not matched up with any registration or personal information because it’s just a matter of cross-referencing the information,” she said.
“It’s is a long process given that it’s a manual job to go through all the data so it will take some time.”
The next step will be community consultation in early 2018 around the findings of the study.
Another study in 2010 by Aurecon, commissioned by Indigo Shire and VicRoads, shortlisted four alternate routes and considered environmental, social, economic and transport issues for all four options.
Ms Steer said it was important to take note that earlier planning studies would still be taken into consideration.
“There has been taxpayer money spent on finding out things to inform the work and we don’t want to duplicate that unnecessarily, so where we can draw on existing information we will but by no means have we got in our head what we are doing,” she said.
Ms Horne said it had transitioned from what was a bypass 10 years ago to now being a heavy vehicle alternative route.
“It’s about getting these heavy vehicles out of the main street and letting it be a main street for people to enjoy and be able to cross safely,” she said.