THE communities along the Ballarat-Buninyong (or Geelong) road will no doubt welcome the announcement of the next stage of works to improve traffic flow on the troubled link.
The short-term disruption associated with roadworks will be of some inconvenience but little in the scheme of the problems travellers have endured in recent years.
Yet despite the significant millions invested in improving road conditions and vehicle flow – for which the state government deserves praise – a long-term solution to traffic problems for those to the south of Ballarat remains unfulfilled.
The suburbs of Mt Clear, Mt Helen and Buninyong continue to grow, despite planning focus having in more recent times turned towards Ballarat’s west.
Traffic volumes in the morning and afternoon peaks, largely generated by school drop-offs and pick-ups, are already at saturation level. Smart locals have attempted to find ways around the mess, with Yankee Flat Rd becoming a major bypass, particularly for those coming to and from the University of Ballarat’s Mt Helen Campus.
Various plans, some potentially costing tens of millions of dollars, have been put forward in the past.
These options have primarily revolved around duplicating sections of the Ballarat-Buninyong Rd, which would require significant acquisition of properties along the route or massive redevelopment of Yankee Flat Rd.
Plans have been drawn up and gone little further.
That is an indictment upon those responsible for funding such projects.
Possibly more left field is an option to create a new link between Albert St and the Ballarat-Buninyong Rd in the vicinity south of Damascus College and north of the university.
The many cons of such a project could be outweighed by one major pro – it would carry travellers via an already established dual carriageway into and from the city centre.
As much as the current state government is celebrating the improvements made since it was elected, and is bullish about the works still to come, residents in the area will push for a longer-term solution.
Whether the government is prepared to take the next step will be an issue at the next election, just as it has been in the past decade.