Background

VicRoads and New South Wales (NSW) Roads and Maritime Services propose to develop a new crossing of the Murray and Campaspe Rivers at Echuca-Moama. The project involves an elevated roadway and extensive bridging and/or culverts across the Murray and Campaspe River floodplains, and improvements to existing approach roads in Victoria and NSW.

The new crossing connects the Murray Valley Highway at Echuca in Victoria with the Cobb Highway at Moama in NSW. The proposal includes provision for a potential future duplication of the roadway and bridges to provide additional capacity if required in the future.

The total length of works (across both States) is 4.3 kms.

Process

Minister for Planning's Assessment

In March 2016, the Minister for Planning released his Assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978. This concludes the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process for this project. The Assessment has been provided to statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on this project, including for planning scheme amendments under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Inquiry

A joint Inquiry / Advisory Committee was appointed to consider the EES, public submissions, and draft planning scheme amendment, and inquire into the environmental effects of the proposal in accordance with approved Terms of Reference.  

A Directions Hearing was held on 28 October 2015. The Inquiry held public hearings from 16 to 17 November 2015 and provided its report to the Minister on 20 January 2016.

Exhibition of EES

The Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the Echuca Moama Bridge Project, together with the draft Planning Scheme Amendment, the NSW Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and Preliminary Documentation prepared under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, was released for public comment for a period of 30 business days, from 27 August to 9 October 2015.

Scoping requirements

Scoping Requirements set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. Draft Scoping Requirements for this EES were on public exhibition from 19 May to 16 June 2014. After considering public submissions on the Draft Scoping Requirements, the Minister for Planning issued final Scoping Requirements on 30 June 2014.

Minister for Planning issued Final Scoping Requirements (DOC, 2.4 MB) on 30 June 2014.

Consultation plan

VicRoads prepared a communication and consultation plan outlining the opportunities for community engagement during the preparation of the EES.

Project history

The proposal to construct a second crossing of the Murray River at Echuca Moama was subject to a previous EES process completed in 2003, after which the recommended alignment (a western option known as 'W1') was not able to be implemented. The strategic justification for a second crossing was however clearly established.

An alternative alignment within an area known as the 'Mid-West' corridor was subsequently investigated. Detailed assessments were completed throughout 2010 in preparation for an Advisory Committee process. In 2011 investigations were placed on hold however to focus on a newly identified corridor termed 'Mid-West 2'. Following initial studies and community consultation, two possible alignments within this corridor (options 2A and 2B) were confirmed and referred to the Minister for Planning for a decision on the required assessment pathway under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

On 14 June 2013, the Victorian Minister for Planning decided that an EES under the Environment Effects Act 1978 was required to assess likely environmental effects and evaluate suitable alignments for a second crossing of the Murray River at Echuca-Moama (i.e. within the Mid-West 2 and Mid-West Corridors).

More information

If you have any questions on the following projects, please get in touch either via phone or email as detailed below.

  • Echuca Moama Bridge Project:
    Please call VicRoads on (03) 5434 5180
  • Review of Environmental Factors:
    Please call NSW Roads and Maritime Services on (02) 6937 1604
  • Preliminary Documentation process:
    Please call Commonwealth Department of the Environment on (02) 6275 9119