Road to remain open

THE fate of Traralgon’s Rocla Road has been sealed in a final bid by Latrobe City council to cater to the needs of its residents.

A number of Traralgon East residents addressed council at its meeting last week, urging them to pay heed to a 500 signature petition in favour of keeping Rocla Road open.

The issue, which has been brought before council on numerous occasions, spurred passionate comments from Rocla Road commuters who marked the route as “the safest way to the (Princes) Highway”.

Despite council officers recommending a proposal to close the road, councillors unanimously voted for the alternative.

“This is the wisest decision we can possibly make; let’s hope this is the last time the proposal comes before council,” Latrobe City councillor Bruce Lougheed said.

His comments were welcomed by Rocla Road residents who heralded council’s decision as “a really good response to the community’s needs”.

Traralgon East resident and Rocla Road commuter Rhonda O’Dae said the decision was a reflection of “our elected representatives listening to local residents making their case”.

Fellow resident Jim Grubb added it would be “silly” if council chose to close the road as it was proved “time and again” as the “safest way onto the highway”.

“I’ve been here for 25-odd years and we’ve gone down this track before… it’s a really good decision and it’s made a lot of residents quite happy,” Mr Grubb said.

“I travel on that road on more than two occasions on a daily basis… it would have inconvenienced a lot of people if that road were to be closed.”

The popularity of the road and its current state of disrepair also urged council to reassess its level of maintenance.

According to Latrobe City Mayor Ed Vermeulen, council will survey residents who live in the area to see “if there’s a strong desire expressed” in upgrading the road.

He added it would then go through a consideration process under Latrobe City’s Rural Roads Sealing Policy, which addresses the sealing of unsealed roads in rural areas.