Highway bypass back on map

A highway bypass around Traralgon could still be on the agenda, after it was included among a set of Gippsland funding priorities put to the State Government ahead of the 2015/16 budget’s delivery in May.

Calls for the full duplication of the Princes Highway from Traralgon to Sale and commitments to expand Gippsland’s export potential for coal and timber industries also formed part of the submission handed to Treasurer Tim Pallas by peak business and industry body Committee for Gippsland last week.

While implementation of the Traralgon bypass has been set aside as a short term prospect, development of full bypass remains a long-term initiative.

“Traralgon is the largest city in Gippsland without a highway bypass. As freight volumes grow, it is becoming an increasing point of delay and the amenity impacts on the township are worsening,” the submission stated.

The most recent bypass route proposal approved by Latrobe City Council in recent years begins at the railway overpass east of Morwell.

The bypass would run parallel to the railway line on the southern side, before skirting around residential boundaries in Traralgon’s south.

“In the short term, small improvements to truck movements through Traralgon, such as alterations to highway roundabouts and priorities of high-value freight movements, could be examined.”

Committee for Gippsland chief executive Mary Aldred said for Gippsland to continue generating wealth and prosperity for the rest of state, the region desperately needed continued investment in critical infrastructure, roads and community projects.

“Gippsland generates billions of dollars to the rest of Victoria, but to keep renewing that value, as well as growing as a region, we need our fair share of investment back into the community,” she said.

“Timber and energy are important industries for Gippsland, they employ thousands of people, support many communities, and provide an essential economic contribution for Victoria.”

Other key state budget lobbying items:

New West Gippsland hospital

Further investment for the Macalister Irrigation District

Drouin South B-double access

Phillip Island road upgrades

Resealing of Mt Baw Baw south face road

Korumburra heavy vehicle route