Is VicRoads really Keeping Victorians Connected, as its slogan suggests? VicRoads proposes a highway, later to be upgraded to freeway, from Beaufort to Ararat as part of the Western Highway duplication project.
Two weeks ago I attended a solemn 'panel hearing' at Beaufort, required by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, to delve into the effects of this. The construction of the Ballarat to Beaufort section of this project is already underway. Meanwhile, the preliminary community consultation for the Ararat to Stawell section was reported in the papers last week.
At the panel hearing it was apparent VicRoads will have 'no truck' with improving the railway line, despite all this public work, for public good.
Yet surely it would be more energy efficient to send at least some of the road freight by rail, since we are all aware fuel prices are rising, as fossil fuels become scarcer. Lower volumes of road haulage would ease the highway congestion and improve safety. Rest stops, audible lines and signs announcing upcoming passing lanes are also known to improve safety.
If this was done it would lessen the need to dissect or cut into many farming operations; perhaps making the existing road wide enough for two lanes going both east and west would be enough.
I invite VicRoads to tell us what, if any, discussions have or will be held with V-Line.