MP back bridge removal

Bunjil Creek Bridge in Gisborne. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 252838_01

By Oliver Lees

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas has backed the state government’s plans to upgrade the Melbourne Road and Kilmore Road intersection in Gisborne.

The planned works will see the construction of a new roundabout and crossing over Bunjil Creek, in a bid to improve traffic flow and road safety.

Ms Thomas, who first committed to the project in 2018, said it was time to get the project done.

“With a history of near-misses, locals know just how bad visibility is here, particularly for vehicles turning right onto Melbourne Road,” Ms Thomas said.

“We have listened closely to community concerns, many of which have expressed safety concerns about the intersection – this upgrade will improve safety, traffic flow and visibility for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”

The works have been a matter of debate at Macedon Ranges council meetings in recent weeks, with some councillors and community members expressing a desire to retain the historic bluestone Bunjil Creek Bridge, which was originally constructed in 1874.

The intersection upgrade will see small sections of the bridge’s bluestone removed, which will then be re-used in the project’s final beautification works.

Macedon Ranges council is now seeking to protect the bridge, its bluestone channel and three mature trees with a heritage overlay proposal.

Macedon Ranges council planning and environment director Angela Hughes told Star Weekly that despite there being no interim heritage overlay currently in place, council is hopeful the proposal will be confirmed in time to stop any works that will disrupt the historical items.

A Department of Transport spokesperson confirmed that early works will begin soon on the project, including service relocation.

Ms Thomas said qualified engineers consulted on the project had determined that a bridge upgrade was required in order to create greater structural depth across the existing bluestone.

“We have consulted extensively with the Macedon Ranges Shire Council throughout the planning process and engineers have explored all options to retain the existing bridge,” she said.

“Unfortunately, after extensive investigation, we now know that it is not possible.

“Council is once again working to delay this project, seeking planning changes to stop the upgrade.

“I will continue to fight for this project – Gisborne needs this intersection fixed now.”