Nats call for Hyland Hwy/Tgon bypass to be repaired

Zaida Glibanovic

THE Nationals have demanded that the state government repair the damaged Hyland Highway.

Member for Gippsland South and Shadow Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Danny O’Brien, has again called on the state government to expedite the repair of the Hyland Highway following a major landslip between Yarram and Traralgon.

Mr O’Brien said he was “hesitantly optimistic” after recent correspondence from the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Melissa Horne that promises a commitment to “addressing the current situation as quickly as possible”.

“The Minister has now advised that funding for the rebuild has been made available due to a joint state and Commonwealth funding package established to support recovery from the December-January storms and floods,” he said.

“VicRoads have been aware of this landslip since at least April last year and while it’s alarming that it took a natural disaster to make this happen, I am grateful to hear that funds are finally on the table.”

Mr O’Brien said with the funds now allocated, it was past time for action to prevent any further damage and to rebuild the Hyland Highway that serves as a crucial arterial road for the people of Yarram and the surrounding communities.

“The deterioration of the road has been rapid and there is no need to delay reconstruction any further,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Minister has finally acknowledged the importance of this road and confirmed that funds are available.

“I look forward to seeing the Minister keep her word and get on with the job, to use her words, as quickly as possible.”

ELSEWHERE, plans for the long-awaited Traralgon bypass are in place, but the community is still facing a long waiting game.

The Gippsland executive director of the Department of Transport and Planning, Beth Liley said the Traralgon bypass would have to wait until the rehabilitation of the Loy Yang mine.

“We’ve conducted a planning study for the proposed Traralgon Bypass, examining its economic, environmental, social, and traffic impacts, as well as its proximity to the Loy Yang open cut mine,” she said.

“We need to evaluate the impact of the final rehabilitated form of the Loy Yang mine before we consider moving forward.”

Significant work was carried out by VicRoads in the 2000s, that included a preliminary road design for the bypass route, as well as flora, fauna, economic, land use and cultural heritage assessments.

The routing was formalised in the Latrobe Planning Scheme in 2009 before the state government announced $1.4 million for bypass planning in 2017.

Regional Roads Victoria conducted a planning study, including community feedback on the route and interchange locations.

The study investigated the economic, environmental, social and traffic impacts of the bypass.

The planning study identified key risks concerning the viability of the bypass and the future rehabilitation of the Loy Yang Mine.

The Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Study has not yet finalised mine rehabilitation options.

As stated by Ms Liley, until this work is completed, the impact of rehabilitation options on the approved bypass alignment cannot be determined.

Once these requirements are established, the Department of Transport and Planning said they will be in a better place to understand the implications for the future Traralgon bypass.

Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester recently reignited discussions on the proposed bypass when he challenged the federal government to commit funding to the project.