COLAC Otway Shire Council is exploring options to avoid a bottleneck at Colac’s eastern entrance when workers finish a Princes Highway duplication.
Council chief Rob Small said the duplication from Geelong could “quite possibly” lead to a bottleneck but he said the effect of four lanes becoming two in central Colac remained unclear.
“Time will tell, it could be particularly noticeable during peak holiday traffic movements, at which point people might actually opt for a detour,” he said.
“I’ve got a feeling that the traffic isn’t so heavy that it’s going to create some absolute bottleneck through here, but you can’t discount that possibility.
“If that’s proving to be an issue, I think there will be ways of examining it.
“We’re not talking until 2016-17, so there’s a bit of time to consider how we might face those things and whether in fact it does occur.”
Mr Small said the council would try to learn about the potential for bottlenecks from the duplication’s entry to Winchelsea.
“If it doesn’t happen at Winchelsea, it’s highly unlikely to happen here,” he said.
Mr Small said a detour would push traffic onto council-maintained roads, but he said the full cost of maintaining those roads would not necessarily fall on the council.
“It could do, but we might well negotiate something with our friends at VicRoads,” he said.
“You’d also want to be careful that you weren’t putting really heavy traffic onto residential roads, so it’s not an easy one to answer at this stage.”
Mr Small said the highway duplication project would end at central Colac’s eastern entrance at the Murray Street bridge.
He said the council was proceeding with the bridge’s design works and that the duplication could include a new pedestrian and cyclist-safe bridge.
“In the latest discussions we’ve had with VicRoads, they’re looking at the project for the dual highway actually finishing at the bridge,” Mr Small said.
“That may well get in there, so we’ll continue to try and push that,” he said of the potential for the new bridge.
“The information about considering the end of the project being the bridge was something that only came to me recently, so we’re still working away on what that means in terms of what we might leverage out of it.”