CONSTRUCTION work will start next week on an $8.3 million major link road into Warrnambool’s long-awaited new industrial estate.
Horne Road will be upgraded from a gravel lane to a heavy-duty carriageway from the Princes Highway to Wangoom Road funded by the state government, Warrnambool City Council and developers.
The first industrial sites are expected to be operating by Christmas next year.
Mayor Michael Neoh, who officially turned the first sod yesterday, and developer spokesman Brendan Howard agreed road construction would be a green light for land sales.
“Horne Road is another key piece of infrastructure that creates a connection to a designated growth area within our city boundaries,” Cr Neoh said.
“Not only will it provide access to the new business park, but it will also be a conduit to further residential growth areas in the north-east of the city.
“The business park will help meet demand for industries wanting to set up in Warrnambool or those wishing to expand their operations.”
Mr Howard said there would be between 200 and 250 blocks on the 47 hectares of saleable land on the eastern side of Horne Road.
“We have had interest from local and key regional businesses and expect to have blocks for sale with titles when the road construction is completed next year,” he said.
“I would expect to see people employed on the new park by Christmas 2014.”
He said further long-term planning work was needed to make a ring road from the highway on Warrnambool’s eastern outskirts through Horne Road and through to the Hopkins Highway, Caramut Road and the highway on the west.
Cr Neoh confirmed discussions were continuing with VicRoads for a ring road either through Woodford or another Merri River crossing route.
“For a bypass there would need to be further work to get traffic back to the highway,” he said.
“We’re continuing to raise it with VicRoads, particularly the condition of the Woodford bridge.”
Horne Road will be closed to through-traffic from Monday until completion of the project by May.
The contract awarded to Winslow Constructions of Campbellfield also includes drainage and turning areas at the intersections of the industrial park entrance, Boiling Down Road, Rogers Road and Wangoom Road.
Cr Neoh would not disclose the exact contract price for confidential reasons, but said it was good value for ratepayers. “Tenders were very competitive in light of a slowdown in other parts of the state,” he said.
Major road construction into city growth areas are also being carried out on Coghlans and Aberline roads.