Residents on a major arterial road are calling for significant safety improvements, as City of Ballarat consider a lower speed limit.
Gillies Road north of Ballarat provides connections to Miners Rest, Clunes and Creswick, and is increasingly being utilised as an alternative to the Midland Highway during roadworks.
A officer’s report to City of Ballarat councillors encourages the placement of variable message signs along a 3.4km stretch, and advocates for a reduction of the 100km/h speed limit to 80km/h on Gillies Road between Olliers Road and Kennedys Road.
Steve Quilliam, who has lived on Gillies Road for ten years, has long advocated for turning lanes and increased police presence to reduce speeding along the road.
He said dense traffic in peak times had made turning on and off the road dangerous, with fears of read-end and side-on collisions.
It needs to be a priority, before someone else dies out there. But why should it take a fatality to change it?Gillies Road resident Steve Quilliam
“The road is like Jekyll and Hyde; when there’s no volume, it’s quite a good road, but when you get traffic, there’s a huge issues,” Mr Quilliam said. “It’s a thoroughfare, there's no obstructions to slow you down and it’s easy to speed.
“I don’t think the speed reduction is going to completely fix the issue, they actually need some traffic management, turn out lanes and roundabouts that actually decrease people’s speed.”
Seven accidents causing injury have occurred between Olliers Road and Kennedys Road over five years.
Council will also consider advocating for speed changes along sections of Cummins Road, Sharpes Road and Kennedys Road, which intersect with Gillies Road, at an ordinary council meeting scheduled for May 23.
Average midweek traffic has increased 37 per cent increase between 2006 and 2017, with 4,704 vehicles per day last year. Commercial vehicles make up 9.7 per cent of the total traffic.
If endorsed by council, a proposal to change the speed limit will be put to VicRoads for consideration.
As part of the Midland Highway works, Gillies Road has been earmarked as a possible detour, with the speed limit to to drop to 80km/h if it is utilised.
Councillor Grant Tillett, who has lived on the road for 65 years, said the north-south connection has “increased in significance and importance dramatically over the last decade”.
“It’s now the only road in the area providing effectively a through-passage without obstructions,” he said.
With more residents in the area, Cr Tillett said he had agitated for changes to left turns into major roads, such as Cummins and Sharpes roads, “for some time”.
Mary Payne, the mother of prominent sportswoman Michelle Payne, died in a car accident at the Kennedys and Gillies roads intersection in 1986.