Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos, Shadow Assistant Minister for Geelong with Hon. Matthew Guy Leader of the Opposition.
VICROADS expects to present an updated design for the controversial Barwon Heads Rd duplication later this year.
The announcement comes amid claims from a Liberal MP the “ridiculous” proposal will tear up $6 million in recently installed traffic lights, acquire land and cut through an existing supermarket.
The Barwon Heads Road duplication project has raised the ire of South Barwon state Liberal MP Andrew Katos and developer Catarina Property Group — amid concerns properties would need to be compulsorily acquired.
However, sources close to the road authority said that when detailed designs were developed, VicRoads would ensure they did not impact on the Armstrong Creek Woolworths and minimised the need for acquisition beyond the Public Acquisition Overlay.
Mr Katos slammed the project in a speech to State parliament earlier this week, calling on Roads Minister Luke Donnellan to immediately intervene.
“Now, in an extraordinary decision by VicRoads from their desktops in Kew, they wish to rip up and remove these $6 million worth of signalised intersections and replace them with two roundabouts as part of a future duplicated Barwon Heads Rd, at a cost of an additional $5 million,” Mr Katos said.
“(It) would have to be one of the silliest proposals I have seen in my time as an elected official.”
“To make the proposal even more ridiculous, the proposed roundabout at the entry of Warralilly shopping centre actually cuts through the corner of an existing building.”
VicRoads project director Tim Price said that “after listening to feedback from stakeholders, businesses and the local community, we’re continuing investigation work before developing any detailed plan or preferred alignment.”
“We will of course work with the community as we complete these investigations and expect to present an updated design later this year.”
In a letter to Mr Katos outlining his concerns, Catarina Property Group director Robert Lane said developers, residents and investors were “astonished” by the proposal.
Mr Lane raised serious fears the proposed roundabout initiative would include the acquisition of land where a Woolworths was already built, and a future medical centre across the road.
“The VicRoads-preferred option of a roundabout proposes to PAO purchase a corner of the Woolworths supermarket building, the structure of which has already been constructed,” Mr Lane said.
“The property opposite Woolworths, on the other side of the roundabout, 765 Barwon Heads Rd, is proposed to be PAO purchase leaving the owner with a small piece of the property that will have little or no value.”
Mr Lane said the project would significantly reduce the value of nearby land, and create an “unfathomable expense” through the Public Acquisition Overlay.
The VicRoads Barwon Heads Rd duplication planning study is expected to enter its fourth phase early this year, where it will confirm details of the proposed upgrade.
The roads authority has two options for the project, one including the roundabouts and one without.
Mr Lane suggested the roundabout option was the preference. The project aims to improve safety and reduce travel times along the road.
“Barwon Heads Rd Stoush” – Harrison Tippet, Geelong Advertiser 17th Feb 2018