A MARONG business owner has countered claims that more trucks are using the Calder Alternative Highway after a Bendigo councillor suggested the road was unfit for increasing volumes of traffic.
Marong General Store owner Dymetha Hockey said fewer trucks had used the Calder Alternative Highway over the past 12-18 months, because there was not enough grain.
On Monday, City of Greater Bendigo councillor James Williams questioned whether the Calder Alternative Highway was fit for purpose between the Ravenswood Interchange and Marong.
The Calder Alternative and Calder highways meet at Marong.
Cr Williams suggested the government should look at an different route for the Calder Alternative Highway, or bypass Marong.
He is a member of the Calder Highway Improvement Committee.
Cr Williams said he was concerned about the Calder Alternative Highway's capacity to safely accommodate increasing traffic demands.
It was a problem which was only going to get worse as Bendigo grew, he said.
But Mrs Hockey said she'd seen five crashes in eight years at the store, caused by driver error rather than the intersection itself.
"The reason for all the crashes is impatience, stupidity and not abiding by the road rules," she said.
"The intersection isn't the problem. The problem is the drivers, people are not abiding by the road rules and being impatient."
Mrs Hockey said she'd noticed a decrease in the number of trucks on the Calder Alternative over the past 12-18 months. She believed the dry weather meant fewer trucks transporting grain, and that a major salt-contractor had changed its supply routes, formerly Melbourne to Sea Lake.
The number of cars and caravans had remained steady over the same period, Mrs Hockey said.
Mrs Hockey said a bypass would be bad for the general store's business, but she suspects many longer-term residents of the town would like one.
But Mrs Hockey said she did not believe a bypass would happen in her time.
If one was built, Mrs Hockey said the general store would have to change the dynamics of the business to attract a different kind of customer.
Much of the business's income came from tradespeople, working in the area because of subdivision, and passing traffic, Mrs Hockey said.
Staff at several Marong businesses said the intersection with the Calder Highway was busy, with heavy traffic loads coming through.
Four crashes causing injuries have taken place at the intersection in the five years to Friday past.
Two children were taken to hospital for observation after a crash at the intersection on Sunday.
VicRoads has been approached about traffic density on the Calder Alternative Highway.
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