Torquay businesses face a bypass double whammy.
A State Government decision to direct traffic from Geelong’s bypass down Anglesea Road and shire plans to send remaining Surf Coast Highway traffic around Torquay have alarmed local traders.
Businesspeople fear losing trade because tourists’ first stop on the Great Ocean Road will be Anglesea, although some residents are looking forward to a decrease in traffic congestion.
Surf Coast Shire’s transport infrastructure strategy review reveals plans for an “informal bypass of Torquay” to provide access from Geelong to Jan Juc and the Great Ocean Road.
The proposed route follows Mess-mates Road from Surf Coast Highway and meets the Great Ocean Road at the Duffields Road intersection.
Torquay Commerce and Tourism Committee president David Muir said the group had met on State Government’s bypass plans, with some members expressing concern.
“It will have an effect on casual tourists going down the Great Ocean Road because they’ll certainly bypass Torquay,” Mr Muir said.
“Your average shopkeeper has grave reservations about (traffic bypassing Torquay) because a lot of their trade is tourist-related and they would still like to trap as many people as they possibly can.”
The organisation had been lobbying Surf Coast Tourism and the shire to place a tourist drawcard at Spring Creek near the golf club to formalise the location as the start of the Great Ocean Road.
“Whether it be a monument or a structure over the road, we’re lobbying hard for that formal recognition and obviously to have signage between Waurn Ponds and Anglesea pointing to Torquay as the gateway to the Great Ocean Road,” Mr Muir said.
Torquay Community and Ratepayers Association secretary Lyn Smith said she had seen mixed responses to the two proposed bypass routes.
“For people like me who just live in Torquay, you would have to think that anything to ease the congestion in the town is a wonderful thing,” Mrs Smith said.
“But I know many of the traders are not happy about it because they will lose business out of it.”