Transport operators’ and transport industry suppliers’ core need for the public road network goes without saying. What is just as vital, but sometimes overlooked, is ensuring continued access to that network, and the best access points to the best parts of that network.
The Victorian State Government has both well-known and lesser-known powers to take any transport industry facility (whether a logistics operation, transport depot, or service station) and isolate it from the access and connectivity that it needs to survive, let alone grow and thrive.
Road network planning by the State Government, to prepare for projects that build the capacity of the road network across Victoria, is almost always a plus for the transport industry as a whole – shorter travel times, less congestion, less wear-and-tear on drivers and vehicles, less fuel use.
But for some individual transport operators, there can be very adverse consequences!
Road authorities (VicRoads, the Major Road Projects Authority, and larger local councils) frequently seek to restrict direct access to upgraded roads, at each upgrade stage. If you are a business operation with valuable and effective exposure and access to an under-strain and under-capacity arterial, major or collector road, you are at the greatest risk of:
- sterilisation of parts of your operation land by a public acquisition overlay (PAO) in preparation for compulsory acquisition for a widened road alignment;
- being prevented from expanding (or even reconfiguring or upgrading) your current operation land while the government decides if and when a widening project will go ahead;
- having to seek compensation for land taken and for disruption to your business (or having to relocate it) once the government gives the project go-ahead;
- having direct main-road access to the widened, upgraded road either restricted or (in the worst case) prohibited once the project is completed.
If your business operations could be exposed to these risks, planning for your business’ future includes exploring your options to oppose, or at least influence, how the relevant road authority will design and manage the finished road project, and how the project will be implemented, including:
- the amount of land that needs to be taken (and on which side of the existing road)
- the staging of the project (with the aim of minimising business interruptions)
- the benefits of maintaining direct access between your business operation and the upgraded arterial road (by signalised intersection, left-in-left-out, or other facilities) compared with restricting direct access to the local street network only.
Influencing a road project’s design can occur by negotiating with the road authority, and by participating in the planning scheme amendment process related to the PAO, including with the benefit of expert traffic engineering advice.
The Hunt & Hunt Victoria property, planning and compulsory acquisition teams are ready to assist businesses confronting these threats to their viability.