Ballarat City Council: Motion to request Buninyong bypass study

Buninyong residents at the Midlands Highway and Warrenheip Street roundabout earlier this year. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

Buninyong residents at the Midlands Highway and Warrenheip Street roundabout earlier this year. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

A newly-formed Buninyong business group says an eastern bypass of the town must be developed before a serious tragedy occurs on the Midland Highway.

The Buninyong Business Network’s Simon Coughlin told a Ballarat City Council ordinary meeting there would be a fatality on the road if action was not taken.

Most of the concern was for the Midland Highway and Warrenheip Street roundabout, particularly on the downwards slope trucks travelling to Ballarat must negotiate.

Mr Coughlin said on Wednesday there would be serious safety concerns for children crossing the street as more traffic starts to use the road.

“We have had some new childcare centres approved, with kids crossing the highway, there are safety concerns regarding the bypass,” he said.

“Can council elevate a request to the state minister, whoever it may be to look into a feasibility study for an eastern bypass.”

Council unanimously approved a motion at Wednesday’s meeting to send a letter to the state government requesting a study.

South Ward councillor Ben Taylor said the state government needed to act before the Ballarat Link Road was finished.

“We can’t be narrow minded and say let's think about when that connection happens,” he said.

“You have to start planning now – confirm the positioning, the alignment, then you do the planning and acquisition, then you start to build it – because that is a 20 year process.

“You don’t want trucks going through the middle of Buninyong, which is going to be suburbia.”

Mr Taylor said there was already a huge increase in traffic through Buninyong, which would only get worse as the Geelong port started receiving more ships.

A bypass for the town has long been debated, with the Buninyong Progress Association raising the issue in June.

Buninyong residents and Cr Taylor have also been heavily critical of a traffic impact assessment completed for the town.

Cr Taylor said the study did not truly reflect traffic flow on the Midland Highway.

“It was not really accurate data,” he said.

“It was really cheap, done for $10,000 and linked in with parking and traffic movements.

“It is always resistance from VicRoads, because they only work on what they have to deliver now, not what they have to deliver for the future.”