From time to time Council is required to close roads for incidents, roadworks or special events, shown below are proposed closures in the Wattle Range Council area:
The Penola Bypass Road is a major road project planned by Wattle Range Council to bypass the Penola Township and forms part of Council's Penola Freight Access Project. The Penola Bypass Road project to the west of the township was identified as a high priority project in the “A Plan for Freight Transport for the South East/Limestone Coast Region of South Australia” report prepared for the South East Freight Logistics Taskforce in July 2006.
Why a Bypass Road?
The safety of pedestrians and vehicular traffic in Church Street, Penola due to existing and increasing volumes of heavy vehicle traffic using the road, has been an issue of concern for the entire Penola Community. Current figures indicate that there are approximately 550 heavy transport vehicle movements through the Penola Township per day and with the narrow carriageway and significant pedestrian traffic in Church Street, these concerns are certainly warranted. This heavy vehicle transport traffic volume will grow with the imminent blue gum harvesting operations to the west and north-west of Penola estimated to add an additional 220-250 heavy transport movements per day.
Location of the Bypass Road
Council together with the Department for Planning Transport & Infrastructure in collaboration reviewed a number of possible locations for the proposed Penola Bypass Road to the west of the Penola Township and the proposed alignment for the road was released for community consultation in September 2006.
Following consideration of the feedback received during the community consultation Council at its meeting in November, 2006 Council resolved to confirm the western alignment for the proposed Bypass Road, despite a number of the responses supporting an eastern route option.
The Penola Bypass Road will commence approximately 1.5 km north of Penola creating a new intersection for Church Street on the Riddoch Highway, continuing in a southerly direction intersecting with Jessie Street/Weirs Lane, heading south west to a new extension of Hotel Paddock Lane, south to the Robe-Penola Road, along Hotel Paddock Lane across the Millicent Road to South Terrace, south east across the Penola Commonage land re-joining the Riddoch Highway approximately 1.5 kms south of Penola. Refer to attached map for specific details of the proposed route.
Court Action – Opposition to Bypass/Penola Commonage
In December, 2008 Council resolved to formally acquire the land required for the Penola Bypass road corridor pursuant to the provisions of the Roads (Opening and Closing) Act 1991.
Acquisition of the portion of Council’s Penola Commonage land required for the Penola Bypass road corridor, was referred to the Minister for Transport for acquisition from Council by the Commissioner of Highways due to the potential conflict for Council with its role as the Trustee of the Penola Commonage land and its role as the Road Authority under the Roads (Opening and Closing) Act 1991.
In March, 2009 Supreme Court action was initiated by the Penola & District Ratepayers & Residents Association (PDRRA) and Duan Butler against the Council's use of portion of the Penola Commonage land for the Penola Bypass road project.
In April, 2009 the road opening proposals were the subject of separate legal action against the Council by two of the landowners impacted and in May 2009 the Council formally discontinued these road opening proposals and the legal action was discontinued by Supreme Court Order, consented by Council.
In July, 2010 the Supreme Court judgment found primarily in favour of Council.
In April, 2011 the PDRRA and Duan Butler lodged an Appeal to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court against the initial Supreme Court Judgment. The Full Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the Appeal on 1st July, 2011.
On 29th July, 2011 the PDRRA and Duan Butler lodged an application for leave to Appeal the Full Bench of the Supreme Court judgment to the High Court of Australia. On 11th May 2012 the High Court hearing of the application by the PDRRA and Butler was held on 11th May, 2012 where their application for leave to appeal was refused with costs being awarded in favour of Council.
This decision means that the Council's decision to open road over portion of the Penola Commonage stands thus allowing Council to proceed to use portion of the Penola Commonage land for the road project.
Acquisition of Road Corridor
Wattle Range Council at its meeting held on 12th April, 2011 resolved to formally adopt the original western alignment for the Penola Bypass Road and to recommence the process to acquire the land required for the Penola Bypass road corridor pursuant to the provisions of the Roads (Opening and Closing) Act 1991.
On 26th April, 2012 the Surveyor General formally published notice in the Government Gazette confirming that on 23rd March, 2012 the Minister for Transport confirmed the Road Process Orders for the opening of roads forming the Penola Bypass Road corridor.
This finalised the acquisition of the land for the entire corridor for the proposed Penola Bypass Road project.
Council is currently negotiating with the affected landowners with respect to the Offer of Compensation and Accommodation Works required prior to the commencement of road construction works.
Funding for the Bypass Road
Council is appreciative of the State Government's $9 million funding support for Stage 1 (southern section) of the Bypass Road project and the ongoing support from the Department for Planning Transport and Infrastructure to bring this project to fruition.
Stage 1 was completed in March 2015.
On the 26th June the Federal Government announced that it is to provide $9m of funding to complete the northern section of the Bypass. This will enable completion of the project and provide residents and visitors to the township of Penola with a much safer traffic environment and vastly improve the ambiance of the historic town.