Plans for a $425,000 sculpture to be installed in Werribee as part of the state government’s Western Roads Upgrade have come under fire.
The $1.8 billion Western Roads Upgrade will upgrade eight main roads in the west, plus improve and maintain more than 260 kilometres of roads from Footscray to Werribee.
The project is being delivered as a public-private partnership by Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and Netflow.
The two organisations and McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery last month invited artists to submit designs for a sculpture to be installed near the new Duncans Road and Princes Freeway interchange.
The budget for the artwork, including fabrication, installation and the artist’s fee, is $425,000 plus GST.
However, several Wyndham residents said the funding would be better spent on roads.
John Frost, of Point Cook, said the money could be used to upgrade the intersection of Point Cook and Sneydes roads.
“Or get the pedestrian light turned on outside the Point Cook town centre on Dunnings Road, which have been finished and not working for two years,” he said.
Western metropolitan region MP Bernie Finn said although he appreciated art, the money should be used to make Duncans Road safer.
“Fix the road before you start making artwork or hanging Van Gogh from the bridge over the freeway or anything like that,” he said.
On the Star Weekly Facebook page, Krystal agreed with Mr Finn.
“I don’t care for artwork but I’d love for some of the pot holes to be filled in,” she wrote.
Several other residents said the money would be better spent on upgrading roads or installing more carparks at local train stations.
Dan wrote: “Drive from Wyndham Vale to Werribee at 8am in the morning and tell me that 400k in artwork is money well spent.”
Major Road Projects Victoria acting project director Grant Deeble said the sculpture would be an artwork “… that road users in Melbourne’s west can admire for years to come”.
An advisory panel is expected to recommend its preferred design to Netflow and MRPV by June.