Alternative route a must
Concerns about a pedestrian crossing in Horsham’s Mcpherson Street clearly demonstrate that issues surrounding the volume of highway traffic in the Wimmera city need addressing.
The reality is that a message that the high number of heavy trucks mixing with urban, school and shopping traffic being of particular concern is playing like a broken record.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is the latest public figure to raise the alarm and is right in stressing that Horsham needs to quickly come up with a solution.
The term ‘quickly’ means a solution must be in place in the next few years, not decades.
For too long arguments about the number of trucks in Horsham has formed part of intense discussion, debate and anxiety over an expansive Western Highway bypass route – a project that is probably so far in the future it is almost irrelevant.
What is highly relevant is that Horsham needs an appropriate alternative heavy-vehicle route and it needs it now.
The right sort of heavy-vehicle route, or ring road, would in no way represent what a modern and even perhaps dual-carriageway highway bypass might look like in the future.
It would be a simple single-carriageway, speed-restricted road, hopefully without the hindrance of intersections and lights and be designed specifically for heavy vehicles.
If you combine a pressing emergency-service need for another vehicle bridge across the Wimmera River in Horsham then an obvious route would be to skim the southern outskirts of the city.
It would include a bridge near Curran Road, where it could connect with highways and run past Horsham’s Enterprise Estate, where heavy vehicles already operate daily.
It’s a project Horsham’s community leaders must consider separate from bypass-planning discussions.
It is a road the people of Horsham, if their city continues to expand, will ultimately need anyway.
There are legitimate arguments for and against a large expansive highway bypass, capable of carrying all sorts of high-speed traffic, to sweep in routes either northeast or southeast of Horsham.
But we have stalemate in public sentiment about this future project while issues that stimulated original discussions about transport routes remain unchanged.
There are no ‘sides’ in a call to build an alternative transport route – just a need.