The Ravenswood Interchange will replace the intersection of the Calder Highway and the Calder Alternative Highway 16 kilometres south of Bendigo.
This upgrade, an $86 million project jointly funded by the state and federal government, commenced in May 2016 and is expected to be open to traffic by late 2017.
Since 2009, there have been two lives lost and seven serious crashes on this stretch of road. This upgrade will dramatically improve safety at this important junction of two highways and local community roads.
About the project
Once complete, the interchange will provide a grade separation, where slower-moving local and freight traffic will be able to use an elevated circular road, while fast-moving highway traffic will travel uninterrupted on two upgraded Calder Freeway carriageways.
This circular roadway is a first in Victoria.
The new interchange will allow road users to merge safely with fast moving highway traffic, with no need to come to a complete stop.
This project will improve:
- safety for all road users
- capacity for growing communities
- efficiency for freight transport
- economic benefits to the region.
To make way for the new interchange, we needed to remove 1,875 native trees.
Given the significance of removing trees, we have taken a range of additional steps to achieve the best possible outcomes for Ravenswood in the long term.
During planning, we undertook an extensive on-ground vegetation survey to record the size, species and location of every tree. This information helped us identify where trees could be saved, how we could plan for seed collection and identify potential habitat trees.
Caring for the Little Eagle
Before construction started, the project team developed site-specific flora and fauna protocols, to ensure utmost care of animals and plants at all times.
One of these protocols determined that we would have a zoologist on site during any tree removal.
In the first days of the project, our zoologist identified a Little Eagle chick and immediately called a halt to tree removal until the bird left the nest.
By the time the Little Eagle left the nest three weeks later, we had been able to change plans, trim rather than remove the tree, and relocate the nest to another part of the tree so it could continue to provide habitat for large birds for years to come.
Australia's first tree climb
A large 28 metre tall tree scheduled to be removed as part of the new interchange, was carefully cut in half and moved to Sydney, to become Australia’s first tree climb activity in the SkyPeak Adventure Park.
In exchange for the tree, SkyPeak gave $11,000 to the local community, which our Environmental and Community Working Group is now considering how it could be best used.
Environmental & Community Working Group
Our Environmental and Community Working Group consists of local environmentalists and individual community members who want to contribute to achieving positive outcomes as a result of the interchange.
The group meets each month to review the project and contribute their ideas and knowledge to initiatives. The group makes binding decisions on community initiatives. Any community member is welcome to attend.
Key achievements of this dedicated group include:
- ensuring that all wood from the site will be salvaged and used toward community and environmental projects
- a long list of environmental and community initiatives
- a partnership with the local Landcare group, to undertake extensive stock fencing, weed eradication and revegetation on creeks that run through the interchange site. This project is designed to mitigate risk of salinity reaching catchments.
- amendments to the future landscaping plans for the interchange, to use local tree species, space trees to promote long-term growth and select a range of grasses and shrubs that will grow well in the area.
Projects currently underway:
- wood has been used to create natural playgrounds for children in the Bendigo area
- wood has been used to make nesting boxes for local schools
- wood has been given to councils for community projects
- logs have been used to improve fish habitat at Pyramid Creek
- wood has been used by Dja Dja Wurrung to teach traditional practices
- habitat logs have been placed on local landowners blocks to mitigate salinity risks and create new habitat for animals.
The Ravenswood Interchange crosses a landscape rich with over 30,000 years of traditional culture and history of the Dja Dja Wurrung.
Long before construction, an archaeological study identified and salvaged 586 artefacts and three scar trees. These objects give direct insight into traditional diet, trade and cultural practice.
Working closely with Dja Dja Wurrung, we have relocated two large scar trees at Ulumbarra Theatre in Bendigo.
For further information on this project, please get in touch.
Email: [email protected]
Write: VicRoads, 3 Bristol Street, Essendon Fields VIC 3041