23 May 2017 North Central Review (Kilmore), Melbourne (General News) THE Wandong interchange has been axed from the Kilmore Wallan bypass project. In an announcement over the weekend the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan advised that stage two of the proposed bypass will not proceed. Stage two incorporates the contentious Wandong interchange. The Save Wandong Action Group (SWAG) has welcomed the announcement with group spokesperson Alicia Poperechny describing it as great news for the Wandong community. The government is to be congratulated on a decision that is a perfect fit with the Wandong Heathcote Junction Strategic Plan, Ms Poperechny said. Mr Donnellan acknowledged the significant population growth in the Mitchell Shire and added that his government was developing business cases to re-route heavy vehicles from Sydney Street Kilmore, introducing southern ramps at the Watson Street interchange in Wallan and duplication of the Northern Highway between the Hume Freeway and Watson Street, Wallan. After significant community feedback the Government has reconsidered stage two of the Kilmore Wallan bypass will not be proceeding at this time, Mr Donnellan said. The minister referred to the report from the Advisory Committee and the Planning Ministers Assessment of the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) during his announcement and acknowledged that the impacts of the redesign of the Hume Freeway interchange at Wandong were not fully addressed by the EES. Last year an independent review initiated by the Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, examined the Wandong and Heathcote Junction communities concerns about the bypass connecting to the Hume Freeway via the Wandong interchange. At that time SWAG pushed a strong case for the noncompliance of the design within the framework of the EES. We have listened to local residents and will continue to work with them in delivering the road projects that deliver better amenity and reduced congestion as well as improved access to get road users where they need to be and home sooner, Ms Symes said. Earlier this year, Ms Symes announced $750,000 to finalise planning requirements and a business case for the bypass stage one to improve the amenity of Kilmores town centre and remove many large vehicles from Sydney Street. The work is ongoing and, according to Mr Donnellan, affected land holders are being involved in the process. There are presently concerns at the Willowmavin end of the proposed route where a change in the proposed design has seen the road cut through previously unaffected properties. The North Central Review is aware that some landowners in the area are presently seeking consultation with both Ms Symes and Mr Donnellan. Mitchell Shire Council was cautious in welcoming the announcement and has expressed concern over the uncertainty the projects have created, stating that the communities of Wandong, Wallan, Kilmore and Kilmore East need and deserve certainty. Council also welcomes the announcement that planning for the Kilmore heavy vehicle route and the Watson Street ramps in Wallan will continue, ready for implementation. These are projects that the council has been advocating for on behalf of the community for many years. We look forward to finding out more about these important projects, Mitchell Shire mayor, Cr Rhonda Sanderson said. Stage one will see the new bypass connect with the intersections on the Northern Highway at the Broadford-Kilmore Road and Epping-Kilmore Road and join with Lancefield Road, re-routing heavy traffic around the Kilmore town centre. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.