Update December 2018:
Regional Roads Victoria, formerly VicRoads, has released its updated plans for the replacement of the bridge at Moggs Creek.
It was very pleasing to see that the engineers have listened to the community’s concerns about the original design and have made substantial and significant changes to their plans.
Among the issues raised by the original design was the alignment of the bridge: to facilitate construction, the Great Ocean Road would have been realigned and the bridge located much closer to the beach, making it more intrusive on the landscape and with a huge increase in the expanse of sealed road. These plans also included a light on a high pole for the pedestrian refuge.
The revised plans have the bridge in its current location with an attached pedestrian footbridge and dedicated 1.5-metre bicycle lanes. To allow for future storm surges and sea level rises it will need to be a maximum of 80 cm higher than the current bridge. The new bridge will be about 3 metres wider than the old one but because the new pedestrian bridge is part of the road bridge, once the works are complete the total width will be very similar. The road will be about 2 metres wider once the works are complete to incorporate a wider shoulder for the use of cyclists.
It is very pleasing to see that new technology is being used for the pedestrian refuge lighting. The lights will now be on low bollards on the footpath on each side of the road. The lights will be focused to shine down on the refuge and will have either a button or a motion sensor to operate them. They will only come on when someone wants to cross the road, not when traffic is passing.
Allowance will be made for school bus pick-ups and drop-offs on each side of the bridge. There is no decision about providing facilities for Public Transport Victoria VLine bus stops. This would require some significant infrastructure and there is no strong demand for stops in this area.
To construct the bridge Regional Roads Victoria will install a temporary 4 metre wide Bailey bridge on the seaward side of the existing bridge, with a temporary pedestrian bridge. Traffic will be diverted over this while the old bridge is being replaced.
The traffic will need to be one-way only and, to control the traffic flow, temporary traffic lights will be installed on the road at each end as well as at the Old Coach Road exit.
Regional Roads Victoria is hoping that removal of the existing pedestrian bridge and installation of the Bailey bridge will happen in December or February. Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin in late April and be complete before Christmas 2019.
Any areas impacted by the works will be revegetated with indigenous plants and Regional Roads Victoria will consult the local community and is keen to involve it in this aspect of the project.
A community consultation session at Aireys Inlet was held in mid-October to discuss the plans and some of the AIDA committee met with the engineers to discuss the plans. At this meeting, we requested some further refinements. These are:
- Where possible there should be a reduction to the extent of the metal barriers planned along the road each side of the bridge.
- The pedestrian refuge, the made footpath on the seaward side of the road and the footbridge surface should be a natural coloured pebble material that will fit with the surrounding area.
- A new pathway on the left-hand side of the bridge shown in the artist’s drawing should be deleted.
NOTE: The artist’s drawings are reproduced in the December 2018 issue of the AIDA Newsletter http://www.aireys-inlet.org/recent-aida-newsletters/
Update March 2018: VicRoads has funding to replace the bridge at Moggs Creek, which has deteriorated sufficiently to require an upgrade. Following a drop-in session held at the Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club in September 2017, AIDA wrote to VicRoads outlining concerns with the proposals. These concerns have subsequently been raised by our members. They included:
• the proposed extent of road widening and the suburbanisation of what is now a low-key approach and turn-off into the hamlet of Moggs Creek;
• the proposed retaining wall/embankment from the Great Ocean Road to the beach;
• reduced car parking at Moggs Creek beach and loss of amenity and safety to residents which will occur with the inevitable overflow car parking in Moggs Creek itself.
Most importantly, members have raised issues with the proposed larger, formal pedestrian refuge, which is overkill for the numbers it would serve, and a danger to motorcycles especially, and also to traffic unfamiliar with the Great Ocean Road. With this installation comes the subsequent necessity for a highway light to illuminate the refuge, which will forever change the incredible night sky in this area and be an intrusion to local residents.
VicRoads responded only to underline their original concepts. Subsequently, they indicated they are now considering the possibility of engineering a temporary bridge during construction, which they say will reduce impacts on the environment ‘somewhat’.
On 16 March, four committee members met with VicRoads representatives to discuss this proposal for the temporary bridge and any ramifications to the local environment. We are pleased to report that there have been substantive modifications to the original plans in an attempt to accommodate the wishes of local residents.
These include less intrusion into the cliff face and less cut into the escarpment leading into the Old Coach Road, minimal loss of car-parking space and modifications to the turn into Robyn Road as requested by residents to ensure greater sight lines. The major sticking point is still the pedestrian refuge and proposed lighting.
A community meeting was held on 17 March to outline the latest proposal. Although Ms Sarah Henderson MP conducted the meeting, residents could ask questions and be updated on these plans. This meeting reinforced concerns about the pedestrian refuge and lighting.
AIDA has been assured that there will be further consideration on this issue and we will be meeting with VicRoads in the future to continue discussions.
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 [email protected]
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.