Hallam Bypass Opens
Pollution-free baptism for new bypass - July 28 2003 - The State Government opened the $165 million Hallam Bypass yesterday, 17 months ahead of schedule and $10 million under budget. The 7.5-kilometre bypass extends the Princes Freeway from Doveton to Berwick, eliminates 10 sets of traffic lights and shaves 11 minutes off the peak-hour journey through the area.
"This is a stunning project,"said Victorian Premier Steve Bracks. "It will help neighbourhoods by reducing traffic congestion and also reduce travel time for commuters."
It channels through-traffic, from Monash and Princes freeways, off Hallam's arterial roads. More than 50,000 vehicles a day are expected to use the bypass.
Construction began a little over three years ago and includes 20 bridges, 15 kilometres of noise walls and eight kilometres of median wire rope barriers. Its speedy construction was due to a greenfield site, community support, good contractors and dry conditions, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor said.
First to use the freeway yesterday were pedestrians and cyclists - thousands of locals had been invited to the opening. Motor vehicles were allowed on to the bypass by mid-afternoon after the crowds had dispersed.
Among the road's innovative features is an ecological filtering system to decontaminate stormwater.
Polluted water that runs off the road enters channels filled with reeds that act as biological filters to extract contaminants such as oil and metals. The water then flows into two wetlands to complete the purification process.
VicRoads chief executive David Anderson said that after this process the water was drinkable. It is the first time such a system has been used on a road in Victoria at a cost less than 5 per cent of the total. "We'll do this on every project from here on,"Mr Anderson said.
Works requiring lane closures and speed restrictions on the Geelong Road should be finished in a few months, he said.
By Andrew Heasley
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