LABOR candidate Gavin Hickey has made a last-ditch bid for votes in Farrer with a big picture plan to enclose a section of the Hume Freeway between East Albury and the railway.
Inspired by what he has seen overseas, Mr Hickey said “tunnelising” the freeway would not only reduce noise for residents, but sporting fields and parks could be established over the section between the East Street intersection and Borella Road.
Mr Hickey couldn’t put a price tag on the project but the first step would be engaging urban planners to advance the plan and gaining the support of governments.
He described East Albury as “a beautiful residential area”.
“I just feel sorry that the area has been adversely affected by the traffic noise from the freeway,” he said.
“Covering over the freeway would not only save the area from noise, but depending on what design was adopted you could even have playing fields or parks sitting on top of it.
“In this day and age we certainly have the knowledge and technology to do this.”
Mr Hickey said in Switzerland and other mountainous European countries it was common to see far greater stretches of road which have been covered over to provide avalanche protection.
“There would be other advantages that go beyond the benefits to residents of East Albury,” he said.
“The eastern end of Albury’s central business district could become an attraction rather than just a barrier.
“With a creative use of the covering over the freeway, and possibly the railway, you would see the central business district once again merging with the east.”
Member for Farrer Sussan Ley was sceptical of her rival’s idea.
“There’s a range of projects across Farrer we’ve lobbied for the Labor government’s attention over the last six years but to little avail,” she said.
“If Gavin suddenly has the ear of Anthony Albanese, available funds would be better spent on countless local roads in poor condition rather than the now-completed Hume Freeway,” Ms Ley said.