Pictured (from left): Andrew Chivell, Paula Poole, Mayor Ruth Gsterin and South Central Ward Councillor Jo Beard celebrate the start of long-awaited road reconstruction.
The Cobden and district community is celebrating the start of much needed reconstruction on Lavers Hill-Cobden Road.
The $3.9 million State Government project to reconstruct 3.7 km of Lavers Hill-Cobden Road, about 2 km south-east of Cobden, started on Monday.
Resident Paula Poole organised a 1000-signature petition calling for urgent action.
She said she was glad the voice of the people had been heard.
“I just got sick of driving over it every day to work and home.
“We’re just thankful that it’s finally getting done.
“We’re only a small town, but everyone benefits.”
Andrew Chivell estimated utes and trucks from his company—Webber & Chivell Fertiliser—made about 50 movements a day up and down the road.
He said the reconstruction would put negativity around the issue a thing of the past.
“With appreciation to Cr Jo Beard, Corangamite Shire and Council Director Works and Services Brooke Love, it comes down to everyone who contributed.
“Appreciation to all those who supported the petition.”
Corangamite Shire Council welcomed the news.
Mayor Ruth Gstrein thanked the State Government for funding and starting the much-needed work.
“Reconstruction of the section of road near the old butter factory has been a priority for the community for more than five years,” Cr Gstrein said.
“This road is a critical link on the dairy supply chain network as well as carrying local traffic, school buses and visitors going to and from the Great Ocean Road.
“It has been in a terrible state for some time and has been a safety risk to users. Regional Roads Victoria had reduced the speed limit to 80 kmh then to 60 kmh for safety and to reduce damage to vehicles, but that had impacts on local business productivity.
“Council has been advocating for this for some time but there’s nothing like having a strong community voice as well to show we’re all on the same page.”
South Central Ward Councillor Jo Beard said the announcement of funding and works was greatly appreciated.
“This is great news for the people who live and work in the area ,” she said.
“The petition was a fantastic example of People Power in action and has achieved a great result.
“Along with Paula and Andrew, I would like to thank Brooke Love for her continued support and advocacy which began in 2016. She really took up the cause at Regional Roads Victoria level as this is their road.”
“The upgrade will mean our residents, workers, visitors and other road users will be able to travel more safely, as they should.
“It will also improve productivity and efficiency for those really important transport businesses that get supplies in, and products out from our farms. They are the lifeblood of our local economy.
“When it’s finally finished, this project should provide a great outcome across the board.”
In a social media post Department of Transport South Western Alliance Communications Officer Luke Voogt said preliminary works, such as drainage, should cause minimal disruption to road users.
“At this stage we plan to commence the reconstruction itself on Monday 24 January.
“Revised speed limits and minor delays are expected for the duration of the works.
“At this stage, we expect to complete the works in May.”