EXPERIENCED road engineers believe an alternative alignment option for the next stage of the Western Highway duplication project was in line with planning and safety requirements.
Concerned Buangor resident MairiAnne Mackenzie continues to push for a change to the route between Buangor and Ararat approved in 2013.
Working with traffic engineers, Ms Mackenzie says a northern route along the existing stretch of highway would also be environmentally and economically advantageous.
Unverified estimations suggest it could be tens of millions of dollars cheaper.
More than $157.3 million has been budgeted for the section consisting of $60 million from the state government and $97.3 million in federal funding.
“The selected route is worse in every measured or considered aspect. Why go ahead with it? It is destructive and makes a travesty of process,” Ms Mackenzie said.
Traffic engineer Jim Higgs from TTM Consulting helped form the alternative option and said it “unequivocally” meets safety demands.
“It's no narrower in terms of lane widths (or) shoulder width (than the adopted alignment). Those components are all part of what conforming to planning requirements,” Mr Higgs said.
“The design standards that we use all fall out of the adoption of the design speed requirements (AustRoads – Guide to Road Design).”
It’s understood the existing highway on the northern option would wipe significant cost from the project.
Senior traffic engineer David Clark said the “northern route requires far less earthworks than the southern option”.
Mr Clark also said that excavation works would be easier on the northern option, and the construction of two carriageways on the southern option would mean a significant differential in cost.
A response from VicRoads said the northern option did not meet its standards. ”Unfortunately the design Ms Mackenzie put forward does not meet VicRoads expectations and would not meet community expectations for a safe, rural highway duplication,” it read.
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