Jobs at centre of bold Thompsons Road extension plan

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A $190 million project would see Thompsons Road extended 13.6 kilometres east to meet Kooweerup Road, with the aim of creating more than 100,000 jobs.

Labor Federal candidates, Cardinia Shire CEO Garry McQuillan and mayor Jodie Owen approached Senator Kim Carr today with the plans for the proposed extension of the thoroughfare.

The State and Federal governments have each allocated $70 million towards the extension and duplication of Berwick-Cranbourne Road to Smith Lane, a bridge over Cardinia Creek and duplication from Officer South Road to Cardinia Road.

The first phase will involve the extension of Thompsons Road from Berwick-Cranbourne Road to Cardinia Road, with the second phase further extending the road through to Kooweerup Road.

Cardinia Shire general manager of assets and services Mike Ellis said the economic benefits of the project for Cardinia were threefold.

The land surrounding the proposed extension have been rezoned to complement the Cardinia employment growth corridor, he said.

“The economy will be bolstered. The Thompsons Road corridor will open up and there will be a flow-on benefit for people being able to work where they reside,“ Mr Ellis said.

“It will also attract people from outside the area to the Cardinia region for work. We’ll see a counter flow from the west.

“At the moment about 70 per cent of our residents work outside of Cardinia with an average travel time of two hours per day. These are jobs we can provide here.

“The majority of people also travel over 25 kilometres. This project will save travel costs as well.

“The most difficult part of the project will be the bridge across Cardinia Creek, that’s the largest physical barrier. I’d expect that could take two years alone.”

He estimated that the second phase would cost an additional $50 million.

Precinct zoning plans show the land surrounding the Thompsons Road corridor will centre around a combination of light and heavy industrial businesses and the service business industries, as well as some commercial and residential sites.

Mr Ellis said the project was estimated to be completed within the next three to five years.

Senator Carr said the project has the potential to play a “key role” in developing the industrial capability of the region.

He will seek final approval from Infrastructure Australia before phase one of the project commences.

Federal La Trobe MP Jason Wood said the extension of Thompsons Road was part of his election wish list.

“It’s on my radar but we need to make sure that proper considerations are taken – like approval from relevant landowners.

“I have met both Cardinia Shire and Casey Council to be briefed on this proposal and I’m focused on delivering relief from traffic congestion for my local constituents.”

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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