Wait for Gregory Street reopening causes frustration

BALLARAT motorists are becoming frustrated by the lack of action to reopen Gregory Street West to traffic.

Seven years ago, a transport strategy recommended Gregory Street West be reopened over a train line in an effort to ease congestion. 

And only two years ago, the City of Ballarat released documents stating Blind Creek Road would be re-aligned to provide an east-west connection with Gregory Street at Ring Road.

However, residents and motorists are still waiting.

The road is currently broken by an unused train line, with no through access west of Gillies Street North. 

The recommendation to open the road was published in the Ballarat Road Transport Strategy report in March 2007, which said opening the road would provide a link to Ballarat West and take pressure off the Sturt and Gillies streets intersection. It is listed in the summary of recommended projects and initial action for implementation. 

The Ballarat City Council released documents in mid-2012 again stating Blind Creek Road would be re-aligned to provide an east-west connection with Gregory Street at Ring Road.

Commercial property owner on Gregory Street West Wally Mason has been waiting and watching for the road to open up. 

“Council voted approving opening it up two years ago and nothing’s happened,” Mr Mason said. 

“Everyone from the area wants the road to open up.”

Mr Mason’s property is on the Ring Road side of the train track.

“I’d only be about one kilometre from Gillies Street, but it adds five to 10 minutes to get to Gillies Street.” 

The road would also alleviate further with future congestion, with the development of Botanica on Gillies Street North, the site of the former Lake Wendouree Caravan Park, and further population growth in Lucas. 

Ballarat City councillor John Philips said the council was working to get Gregory Street West in use as soon as possible but there were obstacles. 

“Because of the train line it crosses, we need to sit down and have the appropriate discussions with VicTrack,” Cr Philips said. 

“It might take some time.” 

Cr Philips said roads were particularly important and more work would need to be done as the city expanded, particularly in western areas of the city. 

Work on the Western Link Road had been delayed to address issues with the indigenous community, as it was an area of cultural importance, he said. 

“Now those issues have been resolved and we can continue with that section.” 

Tenders have closed for the next section of the Western Link Road, to link Learmonth Road to the Ballarat West Employment Zone, with work expected to begin shortly. 

The 2007 report recommended many upgrades to roads throughout the region, preparing for the city’s population to increase to 115,000 by 2031, leading to an increase in traffic in the area. 

It also recommended upgrades to Yankee Flat Road and Hertford Street, a Ballarat West local structure plan, a Geelong Road upgrade from Elsworth Street to Federation University, and provide an alternative north-south route through Ballarat.

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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