URGENT: Community consultation sought on proposed new road and pedestrian bridge at Moggs Creek!
AIDA wishes to alert members to this proposal to ensure all locals are able to have input into the project and its impact on the local environment. AIDA’s position on the proposal can also be found below underneath the VicRoads’ letter which states that the Moggs Creek Bridge has deteriorated to the extent that VicRoads estimates only a 2 year life span. They propose a new bridge which will “cater for increases in traffic volume, load carrying capacity and safer access for pedestrians and cyclists.” They are also considering realigning the Great Ocean Road at Moggs Creek and improve safety at the intersection with Old Coach Road. Work is estimated to commence mid-2018.
VicRoads are aware of community backlash at the lack of consultation with their installation of the Fairhaven underpass, and have held an information session where concept plans and options were presented. This was held at the Fairhaven Life Saving Club on Saturday 16 September 2017.
If attendance was not possible, the project team can be contacted on (03) 5225 2562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We urge all members who were not able attend the information session to seek further information on the options for this project. As with all major works on the Great Ocean Road, the sensitive environmental and visual nature of the area is ours to protect. AIDA’s position, which has been communicated to the shire, can be found below the VicRoads letter.
AIDA’s position on the proposed new bridge at Mogg’s Creek
Firstly VicRoads is to be commended on the excellent information session held on Saturday 16 September at the Fairhaven Life Saving Club. The staff present were unfailingly polite and were on top of their brief. Sketch plans were spread around the room and ensured the large crowd could access the proposal.
Regardless of requirements, it is imperative that the ‘distinctive non-suburban coastal character’ (as outlined in the Surf Coast Planning Scheme and typified by the hamlet of Moggs Creek) is retained. This hamlet itself is low key, has the Great Otway National Park alongside and behind and vegetation covers the hillside and entrance to the Old Coach Road. The majority of roads in the area are gravel. There is no street lighting and night sky views are unimpeded.
The proposal for this bridge is the anthesis of this – a suburban, environmentally intrusive and dangerous solution for an area in which there have been no past issues with traffic flow or pedestrian safety. Many of the issues listed below were raised by AIDA at the community forum.
- All materials used in this project should meld with their surroundings – the footbridge should be of wooden construction, powder coating to the bridge rails should not conflict with the beach background, the concrete footpath on the northern side of the Great Ocean Road made of materials to be less obvious (see footpath from wooden bridge to bottom shops in Aireys Inlet).
- Every effort should be made to keep incut to verges to a minimum in order to retain the low key coastal character. The view from the beach must retain the look and feel of the natural landscape without being overpowered by retaining walls and concrete. It is imperative it retains the ‘hamlet’ feel and rather than looking and feeling like part of a major highway.
- The ‘dog-leg’ road access to the bridge from Fairhaven acts as a natural traffic calming mechanism, forcing traffic to slow when coming around the bend. A straightened road will encourage increased traffic speed resulting in a more, not less, dangerous crossing for residents and visitors. AIDA was informed that the reason for changing the alignment was the need to keep the road open whilre the bridge is being replaced. Maybe to avoid this the bridge could be maintained as a single lane during the replacement works. Although it may be more disruptive and extend the completion date, it would lead to a better and more acceptable outcome in the end.
- There is no reason for the road to be widened to such a degree for access to Old Coach Road. It has not only now created a wider crossing for pedestrians wanting to access the beach, but will increase the speed of cars turning from the Great Ocean Road into Old Coach Road. The current planning scheme is clear in its intent to discourage the release of further land to allow more buildings in Moggs Creek, and the State Government Bushfire Overlay provisions mean this is likely to stay so. It is an over engineered proposal for such a small hamlet.
- The proposed raised pedestrian refuge will be a major hazard to visitors new to the area, especially motor cycles and buses, (which are now likely to speed around the newly straightened bend). AIDA is also concerned that warning signage will be required, which will be intrusive in the landscape, an impediment to ocean views and be against the wishes of the local community who work hard to keep signage to a minimum.There was also discussion at the information session of lighting being required if a raised refuge is installed. Any intrusion into the night sky would be greatly contested by the community, especially in an area which is currently unlit. We would suggest a painted refuge should be sufficient to service the safety of residents. There have been no deaths or injury at this site to provide reason for such an intrusive and dangerous crossing.
- The proposal includes a reduction to car parking spaces in the current car park. This is a popular beach and any reduction to existing spaces will increase traffic overflow into local streets, causing disruption to residential amenity and security and lead to increased parking along the Great Ocean Road verges. The proposed design will also create further road hazards by decreasing the turning space available within the carpark, forcing traffic to reverse directly into oncoming traffic. This area is also an important drop off point for the disabled with its easier access to the beach; and caters to many cars using the beach as a pick up point for hang gliders.
- A proposed embankment stabiliser from the road to the beach will take beach space and intrude on the nesting area for the Hooded Plovers. This is one of the few known breeding grounds for this endangered species and any disturbance to their breeding grounds could prove a disaster.If the road was not widened/straightened, this embankment would not be necessary.
In essence AIDA feels the proposed design is unnecessary, creates more traffic hazards, goes against the character of the area, and is potentially overengineered for the requirement. We propose that the existing bridge be replaced in its current location and size, leaving the Great Ocean Road and its verges untouched.