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ARARAT Rural City’s draft Freight and Logistics Strategy has outlined proposals for a new intermodal freight hub or heavy vehicle service centre.
The strategy aims to capitalise on Ararat’s industrial capacity and gain an economic boost from passing trade. Consultants WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff presented four main options.
Option one is for a rail intermodal facility to support the transfer of freight between road and rail.
“The most likely site for the facility would be within the existing Ararat railway yards,” a report said. “However, research into the generators of freight movements has found very little existing demand for such a facility, meaning that the cost of establishing the operation would need to be justified by a new major freight generating industry or entity.”
Option two supports the creation of a private-sector road freight vehicle service area where a future Western Highway bypass meets the Pyrenees Highway. VicRoads’ consultation on the bypass route continues.
Option three is to improve road access for larger trucks to Ararat’s industrial areas.
“While it was found that the existing road hierarchy currently supports such movements, it will be important to ensure that these local roads can support even larger trucks (high productivity freight vehicles) should they be authorised to use the highway network in the future,” the strategy stated.
High productivity freight vehicles are larger than B-double trucks but currently they cannot travel further west than Ballarat.
Option four is to support a new industrial cluster as current development “limits the potential to attract a major industry requiring a significant land footprint”. The strategy recommends council consider rezoning an area to the east of the Pyrenees Highway, north of Ararat.
However, the strategy also recommends the council hold off on investing in large infrastructure projects until there is sufficient demand to justify high costs.
“Investing in and/or promoting the establishment of a rail intermodal terminal cannot be supported at the present time due to the lack of identified demand and the high cost of required infrastructure works,” the draft strategy stated.
“Council should periodically check local industry attitudes and potential future business opportunities to assess any changes in the potential demand for an intermodal rail facility to identify if and when such a facility might benefit logistics outcomes.”
The strategy is open for public comment until September 17 and can be viewed online at http://www.ararat.vic.gov.au/news or at the council’s Vincent Street office.
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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