Opinion

Shepparton Bypass business case must be prioritised

By Shepparton News

It is disappointing Shepparton will have to wait until next year for the bypass business case.

All our community leaders agree that to improve and expand the CBD, we must remove trucks.

We know this is what the bypass will do and it is exactly why the business case must be prioritised.

The news that we will have to wait until next year is disheartening and the truth is it is exhausting the patience of our people.

Let's remember it was almost 30 years ago that the Goulburn Valley Hwy was declared part of the National Highway System — in 1992.

But it was not until 2006 that bypass boundaries were gazetted into the Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme.

The Nagambie Bypass was opened in April 2013 before VicRoads released its estimation that the full 36km four-lane Shepparton Bypass would cost about $1.3 billion.

Fast forward to April this year and the Federal Government committed to paying the lion’s share of the Shepparton Bypass stage one proposal, agreeing to fund $208 million of the estimated $260 million cost.

With that history in mind, it is no wonder this delay has been met with frustration.

As Shepparton-based transport company Kreskas Bros’ general manager Peter Hill said, if the (Peter Ross-Edwards) causeway is closed for some reason, that's an extra 65km round trip through Murchison to cross the Goulburn River.

In his words, this is not an aspiration, it's an overdue necessity.

This is our city and we need to plan for our future but we can't do that if we keep having delays.

We have watched Echuca-Moama, only 70km from Shepparton, wait more than 50 years for their second river crossing.

It is only now getting built.

We will not wait that long. And we shouldn't have to.

This delay shows the business case has not been prioritized — but it must be.