ALL roads lead to a state election in November and voters should prepare for a steady flow of political pledges in marginal electorates along the Frankston line.
Politicians from both major political parties were out in force on Monday (9 April) to begin wooing voters by making big promises on road infrastructure projects.
Premier Daniel Andrews visited Aspendale Gardens first up to announce the planned $375 million Mordialloc bypass will no longer be tolled and will be a freeway.
“We’d all rather be home with friends and family than stuck in traffic – that’s why we’re getting things done in Melbourne’s south-east and building the Mordialloc Freeway,” Mr Andrews said.
The Premier — accompanied by Labor state MPs Tim Richardson (Mordialloc), Sonya Kilkenny (Carrum) and Paul Edbrooke (Frankston) — told assembled journalists at the announcement that making the road toll free is “the right thing to do”.
Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy was making an announcement of his own in Mordialloc while Mr Andrews was in Aspendale Gardens.
The Coalition vowed to scrap Kingston Council plans to narrow a section of Beach Road to build the final part of the Bay Trail for cyclists and walkers alongside the busy road.
A 5-4 majority of councillors voted last year to narrow the road to avoid losing more native vegetation when building the adjacent walking and bike path.
VicRoads has advised council the proposed narrowing is within its guidelines but protesters have flagged concerns about cyclists’ safety in any narrowed section of the road between the Mentone Lifesaving Club and Peter Scullin Reserve in Mordialloc.
The section of Beach Road would be narrowed from 14 metres on average to about 13 metres in width.
Kingston Central Ward councillor Geoff Gledhill, also the Liberal Party’s preferred candidate for Mordialloc, joined Mr Guy at the Beach Road announcement on Monday.
“Geoff Gledhill has been working hard and listening to the local community and raising those concerns with my team,” Mr Guy said.
“Geoff is focusing on the issues that matter and he’s fighting for his local community and that’s why we are backing his policy to fix Beach Road and make it safer.”
Cr Gledhill said: “Over 5000 local residents have voiced their objections to Kingston Council’s proposal and support my plan for a safer Beach Road and I’m very pleased that Matthew Guy is listening to locals.
“I’m working hard with Matthew Guy on a number of important local issues that I hope to announce soon.”
Mr Guy accused Labor incumbent Mr Richardson of being “missing in action” on the narrowing of Beach Road.
Construction of the long-mooted Mordialloc Bypass will begin next year with completion due by the end of 2021.
Monday’s announcement added about $75 million to the now $375 million project cost and changed the route of the road.
The state government says the project will create more than 400 jobs and cut 10 minutes off a trip between the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and the Dingley Bypass.
The freeway will connect the Mornington Peninsula Freeway at Springvale Road in Aspendale Gardens to the Dingley Bypass in Dingley Village, establishing a continuous freeway from Frankston to Clayton.
The new freeway will have entry and exit ramp interchanges at Springvale Road, Governor Road, Lower Dandenong Road and Centre Dandenong Road.
A new interchange will also be built at Thames Promenade.
An Environmental Effects Statement is to be done by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning amid some concerns about the impact the new bypass may have on the nearby Seaford-Edithvale Wetlands.
Voters in the seats of Mordialloc, Carrum, Frankston and Bentleigh can expect several visits from both Premier Daniel Andrews and opposition leader Matthew Guy in the months leading up to polling day in November.
The marginal seats, dubbed the “sandbelt seats”, are seen as crucial to politicians’ hopes of winning or staying in government.
The four seats swung to Labor at the 2014 state election and a swing back of just 1 per cent would deliver Carrum, Frankston and Bentleigh back to the Liberals.