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Council speaks up to resolve bypass blues

Council urges government to fix section of the Princes Freeway closed for more than three months

By Ruza Zivkusic | May 20, 2011

La Trobe City Council in the Victorian town of Morwell is urging the Victorian Government to fix a section of the Princes Freeway which has been closed for more than three months due to heavy rain.

ATN reported earlier this month there is no date as to when the freeway will reopen, with the government and the electricity generator Hazelwood Power currently in dispute over who will pay to fix the stormwater drain on the Morwell Bypass.

The drain must be lined before the road can be reopened.

The closure has forced Gippsland trucking companies to travel up to 30 minutes extra on each round trip to Melbourne due to traffic diversions through the centre of the town.

La Trobe City Mayor Darrell White says the council has met with government ministers to ensure they understand the impact the closure has on the Morwell community and the wider region.

“Council wants to resolve this matter as quickly as possible in order to get life back to normal,” he says.

“The community has been very patient during this time and we understand that there are some feelings that not enough has been provided.”

The council’s CEO Paul Buckley says the situation is complex, with a number of contributing issues.

“There has been a lot of work happening behind the scenes every day to undertake a range of technical investigations and remedial actions,” Buckley says.

“Council is committed to keeping the community informed and continuing to advocate for the state government to step in and use their skills and resources to get the matter resolved.”

The bypass has been closed after cracks were found in the road pavement following rainfall in February.

VicRoads Regional Director Patricia Liew says the freeway will remain closed until geotechnical investigations and associated assessments of the land movement areas along the freeway and Hazelwood mine are complete.

“Subject to the result of this assessment, the status of the road will be reviewed.”

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