LAST week’s jobs-boost dream at the University of Ballarat Technology Park could become a future traffic nightmare, according to concerned business owners and schools along Geelong Road.
But the Victorian government says multi-million dollar works to fix the troubled road are planned, funded and have started.
The concerns of a traffic deluge come after Planning Minister Matthew Guy last week rezoned 22 hectares of land at the Mt Helen site for a $155 million expansion of technology precinct.
The project is expected to create 1000 jobs in the construction phase and 1600 jobs over 10 years following completion.
Mt Clear College assistant principal Alan Parker said the safety of school students and staff was paramount.
“I’ve been here for over 20 years — traffic is an issue here all the time,” he said.
“I haven’t found anyone yet who says the situation (on Geelong Road) between 8.15am to 9.15am and between 3.30pm and 5.30pm is okay.”
Mr Parker said the news of more jobs at the Mt Helen site was “fantastic”, but said more work needed to be done on the location’s primary access road.
A school crossing supervisor, who asked not to be named, said more workers — and more cars — would only increase congestion along the already busy road.
“Some days are busier than others, but most days it’s pretty bad,” the supervisor said.
Midvale News, Post and Lotto owner Shane Stevens said there were “positives and negatives” about an increased traffic flow as a result of the forecast jobs boost.
He said an increased traffic flow would bring more cars past businesses but would create other challenges such as further road congestion.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the 2012-13 state budget “shows $2.9 million will be invested in continuing the upgrade of the Ballarat-Buninyong Road, a $4.5 million project”.
The upgrade includes works south of Whitehorse Road.
City of Ballarat Growth and Development Portfolio Councillor Ben Taylor said council was “cognisant” of the traffic pressure on Geelong Road and lobbied vigorously for the current VicRoads upgrades.
University of Ballarat spokesman Matthew Freeman said the university welcomed ongoing infrastructure improvements to Geelong Road.