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LIBERAL MP Sarah Henderson says an elevated train overpass on Barwon Heads Rd would herald the introduction of ‘Sky Rail’ to Geelong.
But the State Government says it has no plans to introduce prolonged stretches of overhead rail through Grovedale, Marshall and Waurn Ponds as part of its plans to duplicate the road and the train line.
“I can absolutely rule out any Sky Rail on Barwon Heads Rd. It will have an underpass or an overpass,” state Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said.
VicRoads will host public meetings on December 2 and 6 to detail its duplication plans for Barwon Heads Rd from near the James Harrison Bridge to Lower Duneed Rd at Connewarre.
The roads authority’s regional director Mark Koliba said two options were being considered to replace the level crossing at Marshall.
“We’re focused on fixing congestion on Barwon Heads Rd. We are currently developing a business case that looks at possible road-over-rail and rail-over-road solutions at Marshall,” he said.
“Either approach would be similar to overpasses currently found across Geelong.
“We are holding one-on-one meetings with landowners within the area of investigation this week, to provide them with detailed information and gather their feedback.”
But Ms Henderson and her Liberal counterpart, South Barwon state MP Andrew Katos, say the Government can’t be trusted, and Sky Rail is being planned.
While VicRoads has promoted the options for the crossing removal on its website for at least four months, the MPs responded after an email from the roads authority ahead of the upcoming meetings.
“VicRoads has let the cat out of the bag over a secret plan to build Sky Rail in Marshall and through southern Geelong,” they said in a joint statement.
The Liberal MPs pointed to the divisive debate Sky Rail plans had caused elsewhere in Victoria, particularly Melbourne’s southeast.
But Ms Neville said an overpass was different to the long stretches of Sky Rail being built in Melbourne, and accused the Mr Katos and Ms Neville of “fearmongering”.
“This is much-needed grade separation project,” she said.
While Ms Neville said the State Government was committed to running a thorough consultation process, the Liberal MPs said the only viable option at Barwon Heads Rd was a road overpass.
“I will not stand by and allow Sky Rail to be inflicted on our community,” Ms Henderson said.
Mr Katos said the road overpass would be better for cyclists, require less land to be acquired and provide a wider road shoulder.
VICROADS’ COMMUNITY INFO SESSIONS
Saturday, December 2
Moolap Primary School, 30 Wills Crescent, Moolap
Wednesday, December 6
South Barwon Cricket Club, South Barwon Reserve
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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