What factors were considered when choosing the preferred alignment?

Community/stakeholder feedback was one of several factors considered in selecting a preferred alignment. Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) also considered findings from environmental surveys, cultural studies, traffic modelling and other technical assessments.

All shortlisted options presented in 2020 had a number of advantages and disadvantages, and we assessed these factors to determine the preferred alignment.

What are the key features of the preferred alignment?

Option B Alternative route is approximately 11 kilometres in length.

Key features of Option B Alternative include:

  • Two interchanges (one new and one upgraded) with entry and exit ramps to improve access to the Western Freeway
  • Bridge structure over three waterways and Irrigation District
  • A four-lane road, including access roads and roundabouts
  • Multi-modal corridor. including cycle paths.

What are the next steps in the project?

Following the announcement of the preferred alignment. the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) will seek direction on the required planning pathway.

Once a planning pathway is determined, we will provide further updates regarding:

  • The planning pathway for the Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA). The PSA includes a Public Acquisition Overlay to reserve land for road purposes and enable land to be acquired for the project.
  • The process for the public to provide a formal submission and make comments on the preferred 
    alignment.

There are currently no plans for construction of a Bacchus Marsh Eastern Link Road.

What is the ultimate road design for Option B Alternative?

We've planned for a four-lane arterial road to cater for the future growth of Bacchus Marsh.

The road corridor will include two lanes in each direction, a median strip, landscaping on both sides of the road, and a shared-use path on one side of the road.

How wide will the alignment be?

The width of the road corridor will vary and is generally expected to be between 60 and 100 metres, including the road, central median and embankments. The road corridor will be wider where it traverses the escarpment north and south of the freeway.

Further work will be undertaken in the detailed design phase to refine the design of Option B Alternative and to minimise impacts on properties, environment, irrigation district and cultural heritage. The detailed design phase will take place when the project is funded for construction.

Are properties impacted by Option B Alternative?

The acquisition of private and public land will be required to create a new road reservation.

A total of 55 landowners are expected to be directly impacted by the project. No landowners will lose their homes.

Property impacts were a key factor in determining the preferred alignment option.

We’ll consult with directly impacted landowners to provide information about the project and impacts to their properties.

How does Option B Alternative impact the environment?

All shortlisted routes impact on flora and fauna communities however Option B Alternative requires the least removal of native vegetation.

This option does impact on the Golden Sun Moth (GSM) habitat north of the Western Freeway. Reduction to GSM impacts can be further investigated as part of detailed design.

Detailed investigations, including further technical reports to refine the design, will be undertaken during the planning approval phase of the project to further investigate impacts to the environment.

How many river red gums near the eastern interchange and south of the eastern interchange will be removed as a result
of Option B Alternative?

Further investigations were undertaken to understand how the six shortlisted alignments interact with the river red gums, particularly in the vicinity of the confluence of Lerderderg River, Werribee River and Parwan Creek to better understand the impacts each alignment may have. All shortlisted alignments south of the Western Freeway impact the river red gums in this location.

Option B Alternative currently impacts a lower number of river red gums than the routes at the bottom of the escarpment. During the planning approval phase of the project, further detailed investigations will be undertaken to refine Option B Alternative to further reduce this impact where possible.

How are the indigenous scarred trees near the eastern interchange impacted?

Consultation with Registered Aboriginal Parties has been extensive since 2019.

Earlier in the planning process, two culturally significant scarred trees were identified within the study area. These scarred trees are not within Option B Alternative and therefore will not be impacted.

RRV commissioned a Cultural Values Assessment and conducted further meetings with Registered Aboriginal Parties on site in 2021 and 2022 to discuss any cultural heritage impacts within the alignment options. A Cultural Heritage Management Plan will be prepared in the planning approval phase of the project.

Will the preferred route impact access for the Our Lady Ta’ Pinu Shrine entrance at Flanagans Drive?

There is no intention to move or relocate the existing driveway and access will be maintained. Option B Alternative does not impact access to the shrine.

How has community feedback shaped the decision of a preferred alignment?

Community feedback is one of several factors considered in selecting a preferred alignment. We also considered findings from environmental surveys, cultural studies, technical assessments and traffic modelling.

In December 2020, we presented six alignment options for a Bacchus Marsh eastern link road to the community and stakeholders for feedback and input. The options presented were A, B, C and an Alternative southern route for each. These routes were identified following previous feedback from 
the community and assessments on four key study areas in 2019.

We met with a number of landowners including farmers and irrigators, directly and indirectly impacted by the shortlisted routes. These conversations provided us with further information, for example, about access requirements, how the land is used and the activities carried out, and history of the property. We were then able to make modifications based on this feedback, refinements, and more detailed technical assessments.

The completion of technical studies has supported the concept designs, which have been used to inform the economic, social and environmental benefit/ impact of each route. These were used to inform the Multi-Criteria Assessment (MCA) and the selection of the preferred alignment.

What impact does the preferred alignment have on good quality irrigation land at the eastern end of 
the interchange and north of the freeway?

A north-south road will, at some point, need to cross the irrigation district, regardless of where it is positioned, particularly south of the freeway.

We’re mindful of the importance of this land and we have been working with landowners and technical experts, including key stakeholders, to minimise the impacts where possible.

Option B Alternative traverses through the irrigation district to the north and south of the freeway. Discussions were held with farmers to understand and minimise impacts where possible, such as the realignment of the corridor to reduce segregation of farmland and any interruptions to farm 
activity/productivity/access arrangements. The preferred option was designed to traverse the top of the Parwan escarpment and minimise the impacts on the irrigation district in the south.

We will continue to consult with Southern Rural Water regarding the strategic importance of this 
land.

Discussions with landowners and farmers in this area will continue to further minimise impacts 
where possible in the planning approval phase of the project.

What financial compensation or support is available to landowners affected by the preferred alignment?

The next step is to complete the planning process and implement a Public Acquisition Overlay in the Moorabool Planning Scheme to identify the land for a future eastern link road.

At this stage, RRV’s Transport Property team will work with directly affected landowners to determine their options.

Any impacted landowner wanting further information regarding land acquisition and compensation, can contact the project team via email at [email protected]

Can the community view all technical reports that have been prepared as part of this project, now that a preferred alignment option has been chosen?

An options assessment has been prepared as part of the planning process to select a preferred alignment and a summary can be found on the project website.

Technical reports associated with the Planning Scheme Amendment process can be viewed when the preferred alignment is formally exhibited.

Will planning for the preferred alignment impact the Victorian Planning Authority’s precinct structure planning?

We’re continuing to align our timelines, where possible, with the Victorian Planning Authority to ensure an integrated planning outcome.

We’ve had a number of stakeholder meetings with government agencies, including the Victorian Planning Authority, around how our respective transport and land use objectives will integrate. These meetings will continue regularly as the projects progress.

Can any new or previous routes be brought back on the table for discussion?

There was an opportunity to present new options during the community consultation phases in 2019 and 2020.

The process of identifying Option B Alternative as the preferred alignment has included an extensive technical investigation and option assessment process. At this stage, there is no opportunity for new or previous routes to be further investigated.

Will there be an opportunity for the community to have their say on the preferred alignment option?

The preferred alignment will go through a planning approval process. There will be an opportunity for members of the public to make a submission as part of the independent planning process when the preferred alignment is formally exhibited at the Planning Scheme Amendment phase.

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