The past two years has seen significant investment by the State and Federal Governments in transformative projects across Greater Shepparton, including:
- the Shepparton Law Courts, which opened on 23 March 2018;
- Stage 1 of the Goulburn Valley Health (Shepparton) Hospital, which is due for completion in 2020 and will include an expanded 36 cubicle emergency department, seven new operating theatres, 32 inpatient beds and medical imaging services;
- the Greater Shepparton College (interim name), which will merge the four State secondary schools in January 2020 to form one school and initiate the construction of a new State secondary school at Hawdon Street;
- the Shepparton Art Museum, which has commenced construction;
- design works to prepare for Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass, which will deliver badly needed road safety benefits to Shepparton and Mooroopna;
- the Munarra Centre of Regional Excellence, Rumba Re-life and the Shepparton Sports and Events Centre will provide significantly expanded capacity to host major sporting, educational and cultural events;
- the ongoing upgrade of passenger rail services to Shepparton with two of three stages currently funded will ultimately provide nine return services using modern VLocity trains between Shepparton and Melbourne per day;
- expansion of LaTrobe University’s Shepparton Campus will help to diversify the University’s teaching programs to meet local demand and workforce needs. It will also help to develop greater research capacity in partnership with local industry and regional organisations; and
- a number of key intersection upgrades on the arterial road network either recently delivered or underway including:
- Ford, Goulburn Valley Highway and Wanganui Roads (construction to commence in early 2020);
- Midland Highway and Doyles Road (complete in 2018);
- New Dookie and Doyles Roads (construction has commenced); and
- Old Dookie and Doyles Roads (construction has commenced).
With this investment in the future of Greater Shepparton, the demand on the local and arterial road network is expected to continue to increase and, if unplanned, the associated increased traffic volumes could lead to undesirable outcomes for all road users such as impacts on road safety, amenity, congestion, travel time variability, and reducing network resilience and efficiency.
Greater Shepparton City Council, in collaboration with the Department of Transport (DOT), Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and Regional Roads Victoria (RRV), are planning for these expected changes to mitigate the impact of growth on the traffic network. To achieve this, a number of strategic transport network planning studies are being undertaken to determine the future role and function of roads and intersections across the arterial and local road network. This will inform the future redesign and upgrade of key intersections and roads across the urban area.
Council has engaged GTA Consultants Pty Ltd to collect data across the local and arterial road network to investigate the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing network. MRPV and RRV are working to complete further planning studies on the wider Shepparton and Mooroopna road network to help inform a number of future arterial road upgrades, particularly Stage 1 of the Goulburn Valley Highway Shepparton Bypass and the Shepparton Alternative Route.
The purpose of these studies is to provide sufficient information for Council, DOT, MRPV and RRV to make traffic management interventions where appropriate to cut-down on travel time, make roads and intersections safer, and to ease congestion in and around Shepparton and Mooroopna. The results of these traffic studies will help inform future road planning and implementation of a better, safer and more efficient road network for all users across Shepparton. The studies are expected to be complete later this year.
In addition to this, Council and the Victorian Planning Authority prepared the draft Shepparton and Mooroopna 2050: Regional City Growth Plan to build upon and leverage against this unprecedented investment in infrastructure over the past few years. The Growth Plan will:
- set out the future vision for Shepparton and Mooroopna;
- guide sustainable future growth and development over the next 30 years;
- identify the steps needed to manage growth;
- define key projects and infrastructure required to support growth; and
- provide an improved and more certain environment for making both public and private investment decisions.
The draft Growth Plan was endorsed by Council in September 2019 and is out for public comment at the moment.