BUANGOR resident Roger Louder lost his brother in a crash on the Western Highway, and has nearly been "cleaned up" himself several times.
His driveway meets the highway. He has witnessed several fatal crashes on that same stretch of road.
Mr Louder has faced this reality every day for the past 31 years when he leaves his home.
"Sometimes it can take three or four minutes to get on the road and then some days you have to look, look, look, and you go out and there's one (vehicle) - bang - that comes flying around the corner," he said.
"My agenda is that I want a safe road for everybody."
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Mr Louder is frustrated with delays to the Western Highway duplication project, which has been the centre of an extended protest and legal action by local and Indigenous groups.
The groups claim the project would destroy culturally significant Indigenous sites and cause unnecessary environmental damage.
Mr Louder said environmental concerns were being misrepresented by anti-highway proponents - including a group called KORS that is advocating for the road to be built on a different route it calls the northern option.
This route would run slightly south of the current highway, except near the railway bridge near Hillside Road, where it would run slightly northward in an area which is already cleared.
The northern option differs greatly from Major Road Projects Victoria's planned route, which runs much further south of the current road and would see six kilometres of new road to the south of the existing Western Highway created.
Major Road Projects Victoria has previously said it rejected this option.
Major Road Projects Victoria said the northern option was rejected because it would cost more than the current planned route and do more environmental damage.
In its Inquiry and Draft Planning Scheme the road authority stated the option was considered but it "significantly impacted vegetation of high and very high conservation significance".
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley also outlined her reasons for rejecting the option in a statement issued to Traditional Owners.
"I am satisfied that, based on the information received from the Victorian Government in building an alternate route, will have a significant economic cost impact," she wrote.
Ms Ley also stated the cost would be too great when the price of terminating current contracts was factored into the overall cost.
"Those trees, when that road was built, would have been saplings - now they're almost a danger to the road itself," Mr Louder said. "The (railway) bridge would have to be gone, because it's past its use-by date. That road is so outdated. To just duplicate where it is, is ridiculous.
"(KORS) keep banging on about this northern route being quicker, safer and cheaper - but it's just not.
"I'm not for, or opposed to Major Roads. People don't understand how much work goes into planning a road. It's an obscene amount of work."
Mr Louder questioned the process that lead to anti-highway proponents claiming one section was more significant than others.
"That one strip of land is one is being called culturally significant, but the big strip alongside Langi Ghiran where the northern option would go is not?" he said. "Because to me it's all significant."
It was about achieving a balance for the sake of driver safety, Mr Louder said.
"I don't want to cut trees down - I want a safe road," he said. "Major Roads don't get out of bed in the morning and say, 'How many trees can we cut down today?'"
Mr Louder said wildlife was flourishing in the area and would likely continue to do so.
"When I was a kid there were no kangaroos in the area," he said. "Kangaroos didn't appear until the very late 1960s and then 1970s, so it was a real novelty to see a kangaroo. If you went out spotlighting and you saw a kangaroo, you'd never shoot it. You know what they're like now."
The recently deregistered Aboriginal party Martang, along with cultural heritage authority Eastern Maar have both worked with Major Road Projects Victoria, and Mr Louder said this relationship had achieved a positive outcome.
"Martang and Eastern Maar are not friends with Major Roads, but they've worked with them and come up with what they think is the best solution," he said.
- Western Highway delay impacts not clear
- The Western Highway duplication between Buangor and Ararat will go ahead with alterations
- Ararat Western Highway protest misinterpreted: Aunty Sandra Onus
- Ararat's emergency services say a duplicated highway would be safer
- Several sites are already protected under a plan worked out with Aboriginal Victoria