VICROADS has raised safety concerns over Ballarat City Council's $500,000 plan to spruce up various city entrances by planting new trees.
Council is planning an extensive tree planting operation along major entries to Ballarat in a bid to improve the city's tired image in the eyes of both tourists and residents.
However, VicRoads has concerns about the proposed scheme, recommending council acknowledges the increased safety risk to motorists who may collide with the new trees.
Landscaping works are outlined for entrances on Woodman's Hill, Albert St, Sebastopol, Learmonth Rd, the Avenue of Honour and Creswick Rd.
VicRoads is firmly against tree planting on Woodman's Hill and Albert St because the proposed tree spacing does not comply with its road design guidelines on adequate clearance zones.
VicRoads Western Victoria regional manager Lance Midgley said there had to be a balance between the amenity factor and road safety.
"We're not saying there should be no trees at all but we do have some concerns about the types of trees to be used and wherever possible, we urge councillors to allow for adequate clearance zones," Mr Midgley said yesterday.
Ballarat City councillors will tonight be asked to determine their preferred position on the issue, balancing the increased safety risk against the overall benefit to the city's image.
A report to be tabled tonight said the issue is largely one of risk and speed, with the required clearance greater in high speed zones.
If the speed limits on entries were reduced, that would make tree planting less of a risk, the report stated.
VicRoads has stated that should council proceed with its beautification program, it would reserve the right to ask council to remove any trees deemed to be a safety hazard.
Councillors are tonight being recommended to support tree planting along major city entrances while endeavouring to comply with VicRoads guidelines where possible.