The City of Ballarat looks set to return to the negotiating table with the state and federal government in an effort to secure funding for stage two of the Ballarat Link Road in the city’s west.
On Wednesday council received notification from Planning Minister Richard Wynne’s office that amendments to the road’s 12-kilometre second stage had been given the green light.
The amendment allows council to reserve land needed for the development of stage two and also removes the need to seek further planning permits.
Construction of section 1B is currently underway and is anticipated to be complete by March 2018. The 2.5-kilometre stretch of road spans from Remembrance Drive to the intersection of Ring Road and Trewin St.
City of Ballarat chief executive Justine Linley said while it was unlikely any money from the 2017/18 federal budget would be made available to complete the road, council would be lobbying hard to secure the funds in the next federal or state budgets.
“It's a piece of infrastructure which is of national significance because it does unlock productivity opportunities for the region,” Ms Linley said. “Ultimately with the freight hub which is on the books to be built at the Ballarat West Employment Zone, we can see that there’s some significant economic benefit that will come.”
While council was hopeful the $75 million second stage would be included in Treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget a fortnight ago, it appears it will be overlooked this financial year despite Canberra’s $1 billion investment in Victorian infrastructure.
The cash could also come from the state government, however $38 million for stages 1A and 1B was delivered by Spring Street.
When completed the road will provide residents in Ballarat’s west with a direct route onto the Western Highway and will also reduce freight traffic through the centre of the city.
The 1.7 kilometre section 1A of the road, which connects the intersection of Waringa Drive and Learmonth Road with the intersection of Ring Road and Trewin Street was opened back in 2015.