The Pyrenees Highway connects communities from Ararat through Avoca, Maryborough and Castlemaine to Elphinstone. The road carries approximately 6,500 vehicles per day through Mount Alexander Shire between Newstead and Muckleford South.
Between 2009 and 2013, there were five run-off road crashes including one fatality on the Pyrenees Highway. This project has been designed to reduce the risk and severity of crashes where drivers run off the road and hit hazards like trees and steep drop offs.
Due to these circumstances the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) granted funding in the 2015-16 financial year and we commenced planing towards improving this road for commuters and residents.
Safety works include:
- Installation of 23 flexible wire rope safety barriers and guard fences
- Sealing of road shoulders at various locations
- Sealing of parts of intersections at various locations
- Removal of, or protection from, roadside hazards such as trees, culverts and drop-offs.
There are 146 trees that will need to be removed to ensure roadside hazards are no longer present and to provide better sight lines.The environmental assessment identified species that could be impacted by the works, including the Swift Parrot and Box Ironbark trees. Some of the species identified are protected by federal legislation and a referral was made to the Australian Government in late 2016. The Australian Government reviewed the case and approved the removal of the trees.
To comply with the approval conditions, work will commence in January 2019. This will allow us to avoid the migration period of the Swift Parrot and reduce risk to the species while allowing for transfer of vegetation to the nearby bushland reserve.
Tree species include a combination of grey, yellow and red box gum and one red river gum. The trees differ in size and include:
- 9 large mature trees
- 1 dead large old tree
- 8 medium trees and;
- 128 small trees including six dead.
No scar trees or other vegetation of cultural significance will be affected.
- Improved safety for all road users
- Wider sealed road
- Reduced likelihood of serious injury if an accident was to occur
- Removal of, protection from, hazards close to the road
- Improved safety through sealing of bell mouths at intersections.
Have a say
A public consultation meeting was held in Newstead in March 2016 to present information on the need for safety barrier works and details of the project.. Residents, community groups, Landcare Newstead and Mount Alexander Shire Council staff were all invited to attend. Feedback from this meeting was considered in the final design of the project and specific requests for follow up correspondence were addressed.
Works were expected to commence in December 2017, however, the Australian Government referral process was enacted which can be a 12 to 24 months process. As part of the process, our application was required to be advertised and available for public comment for 20 business days. We therefore published public notices in The Age and Castlemaine Mail newspapers in September 2017 to invite public comment.
What happens next
We’re inviting community members and those that use the road, to join us at a drop-in session to learn more about the project.
WHEN: Tuesday 8 January 2019
TIME: 5pm - 8pm (simply drop-in at a time convenient for you)
WHERE: Newstead Recreation Reserve, 21 Panmure Street, Newstead
Register here: via Eventbrite
Get in touch
If you’d like to know more about the project, please get in touch.