Sign up for safer streets
THE State Government will be called on to fund a heavy vehicle route in Leongatha and make the town’s central business district safer.
A petition, circulated throughout shops and businesses yesterday (Monday), will be presented to Deputy Premier Peter Ryan in March.
Mr Ryan is the Member for Gippsland South. He’s also the Minister for Regional and Rural Development. The petition was his idea.
Leongatha Chamber of Commerce president Darryl McGannon, told The Star yesterday afternoon, that the chamber discussed the long awaited bypass issue with Mr Ryan in the lead up to the state election.
Some means of taking heavy traffic away from Leongatha’s CBD has been talked about for decades.
Now, the Chamber of Commerce in concert with the Leongatha Progress Association, is hoping for concrete action.
Progress association president Terry Aeschlimann, took copies of the petition to shops and businesses yesterday morning.
“It’s a nice feeling that something is happening,” he sighed, “this has been going on for 40 years!”
Darryl McGannon described the petition as “a good move”.
He said the lack of an alternative route for trucks was holding back Leongatha’s progress and needed to be resolved.
“All we have is that the (South Gippsland) shire has a preferred route in its structure plan. We hope the petition starts the ball rolling,” he said.
“To me, the first thing we need is to get a bypass route determined, so everything else can fall into place.
“If we have a designated route, we can plan around it.”
Mr McGannon said he had seen a shire plan to redevelop Bair Street, which he thinks would be “fantastic”.
But, until a heavy traffic alternative route is determined, such redevelopment cannot go ahead.
“The Chamber of Commerce and the Progress Association support council’s preferred option for the heavy truck route to leave the South Gippsland Highway at Ogilvy Street and run along Long Street and into Turner Street.
Mr Aeschlimann said both the chamber and the Progress Association were urging residents “to put their signature down to show that it is high time this issue was resolved”.
He said the preferred route would be a cost-effective way of diverting heavy vehicles from Bair Street, the McCartin Street/Bair Street roundabout and the “dangerous” intersection at Anderson Street.
“The structure plan also lists Turner Street as an option to divert heavy vehicles to the industrial estate,” he said.
Mr Aeschlimann said most residents had seen the truck bypass issue raised “on too many occasions” and are fed up with the lack of action.
“Residents must show their support and sign this important petition so that the council can work with VicRoads to make things happen,” he said.
Mayor Cr Warren Raabe, said he saw the petition as a positive move.
He said council regularly advocates to VicRoads about the alternative heavy traffic route and the response is always that it is all subject to funding.
By May this year, council will have drawn up a list of priority projects for the shire.
“There may be room for a truck route on an advocacy list to be going to the politicians,” he said.
Asked if he would sign the petition, Cr Raabe said he would have to read it first.
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