In the past couple of weeks the Longwood and Locksley communities have become aware of the Andrews Labor Government’s disastrous plans to move up to 5 superloads of pre-cast concrete per week for the next two years from Benalla to Melbourne for use on the West Gate Tunnel Project by road using the Hume Freeway with a detour via Longwood and Locksley.
This detour is made necessary because the historic Pranjip Bridge on the south bound carriageway of the Hume Freeway cannot carry the weight of the superloads which will be around 160 tonnes. The loads will also be approx. 52 metres long, 4.5 metres wide, and 5 metres high.
These superloads move very slowly at only about 25kph but are very noisy and involve vehicle and pedestrian escorts. They usually travel at night and are lit up like daylight. The community have been informed it will take 6 hours for a load to get to Melbourne and that most – but not all – loads will leave Benalla about 10pm and travel through Longwood just before 1am. And this will go on for two years!
The community were originally told it was a night-time project and would only be two loads per week but it has now gone to up to 5 loads per week mostly at night, which is a major shift.
The roads to be used for the detour are the Avenel-Longwood Road and Alexandersons Road, both are local council roads and the route includes two local council bridges. These roads and bridges are not built to carry this type of traffic.
This is another failure by the Andrews Labor Government who not only promised the pre-cast concrete would be transported by rail but actually built a 700-metre-long railway siding specifically to accommodate loading the concrete on to the rail in Benalla. Now they have discovered the pre-casts are too large for rail and the people of Longwood and Locksley will suffer because of it.
I intend to raise this matter in State Parliament this week where I will seek the following action from the Minister for Transport Infrastructure:
- Delay these plans until the Shire of Strathbogie, the residents of Longwood and Locksley, and the important Thoroughbred Horse Industry in the Strathbogie Shire have been fully consulted on the impacts this plan will have on local residents, roads and businesses;
- Conduct a thorough consultation with the Victorian Transport Industry on the impact this disruption will have on traffic using the Hume Freeway;
- Only when all other avenues for moving the pre-cast concrete have been explored and ruled out, the Andrews Labor Government must enter into an MOU with the Shire of Strathbogie to ensure the restoration of roads and provide adequate compensation for the local communities by way of services and infrastructure for the disruption this will cause to their lives over the next two years.
Media Contact: Jason Kelly 0413 103 240 email@example.com