Roadworks impact animals

The needs of wildlife that call the Kooweerup-Pakenham corridor home are being considered as crews gear up for major works to start on the Healesville-Kooweerup Road.

Wildlife shelters, underpasses and habitat ponds are all being built to assist endangered and vulnerable native wildlife before, during and after construction.

Major Roads Projects Victoria and its construction partners, McConnell Dowell and Seymour Whyte are teaming up with Cardinia Men’s Shed Pakenham and Kooweerup Men’s Shed to build up to 28 bandicoot shelters.

The shelters will be installed in locations along Healesville-Kooweerup Road where they can be moved as needed.

Cardinia Men’s Shed Pakenham has already delivered six bandicoot shelters for the upgrade and the remaining shelters will be on-site by late 2022.

Ken Hordern, Cardinia Men’s Shed Pakenham secretary said he was proud to be working with the project team to design and build these bandicoot shelters.

“As a not-for-profit community organisation, we’re always looking to contribute to community projects like the Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade,“ he said.

Kooweerup Men’s Shed secretary Brian Harlow shared the sentiment.

“We understand the need to protect the native wildlife and are proud to be able to contribute to sustaining the Southern Brown Bandicoot population in the area,“ he said.

Shelters were built with a unique design to ensure larger animals like foxes and feral cats could not access the shelter, keeping the bandicoots safe.

Major Roads Projects Victoria is also building a number of habitat ponds nearby for native animals, as well as temporary shelters for a range of bat species.

Additionally, Major Roads Projects Victoria has worked with local beekeepers to safely relocate beehives away from the project area in locations that will be impacted by construction activity.

As part of the project, more than 35 underpasses and fauna crossings will be built so Southern Brown Bandicoots, Growling Grass Frogs and other wildlife in the area can safely cross the road.

Marc Peterson, Major Road Projects Victoria project director said considering the wildlife in the area was important.

“We share the value the community places on the environment and that’s why we’re working hard to include native wildlife and vegetation protections as we get on with delivering the Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade – which will benefit all locals with improved safety and eased congestion as they travel throughout the area,“ he said.

The Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade is expected to be completed by 2025.