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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says it’s critical the Andrews Government accelerates the consultation process for the final planning and design of the long-awaited Traralgon bypass.

Mr Chester said local residents and the broader Gippsland community needed greater certainty around the project which would create jobs, reduce congestion in Traralgon, improve road safety and boost productivity.

“Four years ago, the Andrews Government committed $1.4 million for a business case to examine the feasibility of constructing a highway bypass around Traralgon but it’s all gone quiet,” Mr Chester said.

“There’s so many unanswered questions like ‘is the project viable, what does it cost, is the route finalised, and when would it be built?’ but we hear nothing from the Andrews Government.

“With the final stages of the duplication project to Sale now underway, it’s time to get the consultation and design work completed on the Traralgon bypass.

“The Andrews Government needs to be completely transparent with the community to allow businesses and affected residents to make long-term decisions.

“This project has been spoken about for over 30 years, some work has already been done around potential routes, but it’s come to a standstill.

“Although the State Government owns the road, the majority of the funding for a project of this scope would come from the Federal Government and we need to get some numbers in front of Treasury.”

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said the community must be fully consulted on any plans for the Traralgon bypass.

“The Andrews Government needs to listen to the community, get the planning done and make a commitment to work with the Commonwealth to fund the project in the future,” Ms Bath said.

“Investing in better transport infrastructure, whether it is highway duplication or a bypass, would greatly improve connectivity and enhance Gippsland’s major transport route.

“This project is supported by residents concerned with the unsustainable congestion on Traralgon roads which are causing safety issues and impacting liveability.

“There are many benefits of the project progressing, which is why the Andrews Government must undertake the planning and assess the project.”

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