Al­ter­na­tive route a must

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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