Thompsons Road upgrade funds push

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Cardinia Shire and Casey councils have teamed up to lobby for $190 million of federal funding towards the proposed duplication and extension of Thompsons Road.

Their campaign contends that an upgraded and extended Thompsons Road would serve as an alternative east-west thoroughfare to minimise congestion on the Monash freeway.

The proposal includes an upgrade of the Thompsons Road and Western Port Highway intersection to a grade separated interchange, the duplication of Thompsons Road from Dandenong-Frankston Road to Berwick-Cranbourne Road and the extension of Thompsons Road from Berwick-Cranbourne Road to Cardinia Road with plans for future extension to reach Healesville-Kooweerup Road.

This project would support the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA)’s Fund Our Future effort, which calls for a dedicated national infrastructure fund in the upcoming Federal Budget to benefit Australia’s most under pressure growth corridors, focusing on roads, public transport and health facilities.

“Investment would provide significant jobs creation, higher tax revenues and a permanent boost to national GDP,” the pre-budget submission said.

“Rural and regional areas have been recognised through dedicated funding but outer growth area population hotspots have never benefitted from this type of approach.

“Continued underinvestment will be catastrophic personally and for communities and businesses more broadly: increased stress, time wasted in traffic, fewer jobs and social isolation leading to divided communities.”

A recent SGS Economics and Planning analysis showed that an annual investment of about $5 billion over the next 15 years was required to meet the infrastructure needs of the growing population in these areas.

Cardinia Shire’s population alone is forecast to increase by 86.31 per cent to 175,500 residents by 2036.

Cardinia Shire general manager of assets and services Mike Ellis 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.”

Cardinia Shire mayor Jodie Owen said extension of Thompsons Road into Cardinia Shire would deliver “unprecedented benefits to residents and businesses”.

“An extension would provide a major new high capacity east-west freight route and deliver a much-needed alternative to the heavily congested Monash Freeway. It will also open up considerable employment land in the Casey Cardinia growth corridor,” she said.

“As our population grows, more and more residents will be commuting to work by car which will exacerbate the level of congestion currently experienced on our road network. You can already see that there is a lot of pressure on existing roads.

“We have been talking to both sides of government about this project. No matter which party is in government, it is important for them to realise that we need funds for Thompsons Road to meet the immediate and ongoing needs of our residents and businesses.”

Sign up for the campaign at http://www.fundourfuture.info/act-now.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette or Berwick News.

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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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