THERE are calls to replace a major traffic route in central Victoria that has been labelled a dangerous “goats track”, unable to handle the traffic it receives.
Calder Highway Improvement Committee community representative David Hutchings said the Calder Alternative Highway was “disgraceful” and not adequate for the volume of traffic it carried each day.
As a CFA volunteer who attended crashes on the road, Mr Hutchings said he could think of at least five fatalities along the highway in the past decade.
“It’s quite windy and narrow, there are lots of trucks,” Mr Hutchings said of the road between Bridgewater and Ravenswood.
He said the improvement committee wanted to see the highway replaced with a road that bypassed Marong and possibly Lockwood.
Such a project would become increasingly important, Mr Hutchings said, with the growth of Marong and other satellite towns to Bendigo such as Bridgewater.
But VicRoads regional director Mal Kersting said there were no plans to replace the highway.
“There have been a range of views and ideas presented on potential improvements for the Calder Highway and the Calder Alternative route, presently we have no plans to advance the replacement of the alternative route,” Mr Kersting said.
“We are seeing significant safety improvements at the Ravenswood interchange which will create safer travel for those using both the highway and alternative route.
“This has been a major priority.”
While the upgrade of the Ravenswood interchange had been the CHIC’s most urgent priority, Mr Hutchings said there was little that could be done to improve the alternative highway itself and it needed to be replaced.
He said the highway was not only a major freight route, but was used heavily by passenger vehicles travelling to and from the north-west of the state.
Mr Hutchings said he expected that any proposed replacement would make provisions for a widening of the current two-lane highway.
The City of Greater Bendigo has floated the idea of a bypass around the Marong town centre as part of its plan to develop a business park near the township.