On 8 December, DCSCA Treasurer Doug Carson discussed progress on the Drysdale Bypass with four independent consultants engaged by Vic Roads.
The consultants were two civil engineers, a lawyer and a project manager; and the aim of the discussion was to ensure that the documentation, analysis, and reporting of the bypass project is thorough and of high quality.
The Drysdale bypass has been an issue locally for several years, but interest grew in the lead-up to the 2014 state election. The state seat of Bellarine was a marginal seat and both major parties promised to fund the bypass if elected. The Labor Party was elected and work on the Drysdale bypass has started.
Local views on local issues
Doug Carson’s comments to the consultants drew on the views expressed in recent public consultations about the bypass. “I told the consultants that Drysdale becomes gridlocked during peak hours and peak holiday times”, he said, “And that trucks, school buses and through traffic would not clog up the town if an alternative route was available.”
Carson also told the consultants that there was concern that without thorough planning and modelling, the bypass could create traffic chaos at the existing Jetty Road roundabout and at nearby Peninsula Drive, where upwards of 5,000 students go to school and where a 35-acre site is set to become a massive Sporting Precinct.
Balancing the benefits
The consultants suggested that the current plan for a 6kms bypass with five roundabouts could lengthen journey times on the bypass, making it a less attractive option. “A bypass must balance the benefit of a quicker route with the benefit of easy access”, they said; “A ‘true’ bypass has an entrance and an exit, with no junctions in between.”
In his response, Carson said that the current plan was received well in two local consultation sessions; and that altering the plan by removing roundabouts would have significant effects on local traffic. “If the junction of Grubb Road, Jetty Road and Drysdale High Street was reconfigured to include a flyover for east-west traffic”, said Carson, “that would eliminate one roundabout in the bypass. However, removing any of the proposed roundabouts at Princess Street, Murradoc Road and Whitcombes Road would cause problems for local traffic.”
Different means to the same ends?
Finally, Carson told the consultants that some people have suggested upgrading Andersons Road between Grubb road and the Portarlington-Queenscliff Road as an alternative means to ease traffic in central Drysdale. “The upside is that the road exists already, shortening the construction phase” said Carson. “The downsides are that Portarlington residents would have to drive further to the start of this alternative bypass; and that the drive will be even less attractive by the proposed ferry from Portarlington creating more traffic.”
The consultants will present a report to VicRoads at the end of their consultations.