Calls for transparency in Bulla Bypass development

Bulla residents have been calling for a bypass to take pressure off the roads for years. (Damjan Janevski)

By Oliver Lees

Sunbury Residents Association president Graham Williams has welcomed the announcement of planning for the long-awaited Bulla Bypass, but wants to see greater transparency as the project’s business case is developed.

Last week Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) opened up community feedback to inform the design of the major infrastructure project.

The Bulla Bypass, which would see a new road built to connect Somerton Road and Sunbury Road, has been discussed for a number of years, with the state government allocating $6.5 million in the 2020-21 state budget to develop a business case for the project.

Mr Williams said the community was in desperate need of more roads.

“The current road from Sunbury through Bulla township, to the beginning of the Tullamarine Freeway [and] past the airport has been problematic for many years, and the last upgrade really did nothing to fix the main issue of traffic volumes during morning and afternoon/evening peaks,” he said.

“I have lived in Sunbury for a short 30 years and what was the most direct route to the CBD for work is now virtually impassable during the peaks and I now take the Calder route both ways to avoid an extra 30 minutes travel time each way.”

Mr Williams said he was concerned this could be “just be another review” that does nothing to serve Sunbury’s increasing population.

The bypass is expected to reduce congestion through the Bulla township by taking pressure off of Sunbury Road, which, according to a 2019 survey presented to Hume council, is already far in excess of the recommended daily capacity.

But the project has been subject to multiple roadblocks. In 2016, Planning Minister Richard Wynne went against the advice of planning experts and blocked a proposal for the bypass on the grounds that it would divide rural properties and a national reserve.

In August this year Star Weekly reported that the Bulla Bypass had been listed only as a ‘consideration’ in a statewide infrastructure priority list for the next 30 years.

No timeline has been given on the completion of the project, but the business is expected to be delivered by mid-2022.