Work is about to start on a feasibility study to determine whether heavy vehicle traffic could be directed outside of central Horsham.
Horsham Rural City Council committed $100,000 in its current budget to work with The Department of Transport (DoT) as part of its bid to reduce the number of trucks travelling through the city.
HRCC Chief Executive Officer Sunil Bhalla said the joint study would not consider a Western Highway bypass, rather what options were achievable for alternative truck routes around Horsham.
“Along with the Western Highway, many heavy vehicles are entering Horsham’s streets via the Wimmera and Henty Highways and this provides challenges for both the trucking industry and our residents,” he said.
“This study is about looking at possible routes for heavy vehicles that do not originate or terminate in Horsham to travel around the city instead of through the centre,” said Bhalla.
Bhalla denied the feasibility study was initiated as precursor to a bypass.
“The DoT has no plans to continue work on the previously proposed Horsham bypass,” he said.
If an alternative truck route was feasible, it would likely include the construction of a second road bridge across the Wimmera River according to Bhalla.
“Council has recognised that a second road bridge has been an emerging need for a number of years,” he said.
“The purpose of the feasibility study is to firstly determine whether any achievable options exist. If there is more than one potential route, the second step would be to establish a preferred option.
“Cultural heritage will be a major consideration,” Bhalla concluded.
The feasibility study is due to be completed by January 2023, if one or more potential truck routes are found, further planning work will be undertaken including public consultation.
An alternative truck route was a key recommendation in Council’s Horsham Urban Transport Plan which was adopted in January 2020.
The Commonwealth Government has also contributed $150,000 to the project.