Works on the city’s new central bus interchange could begin as soon as September after Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan unveiled final designs for the terminal at Ballarat Station.
Under the proposed plans 12 new bus bays will be constructed between the station and the new multi-deck car park, alongside shelters and seating for commuters.
Preliminary designs were released in February and have since been revised following community consultation.
An additional pedestrian crossing from the terminal to the station has been added following community feedback, while extra wind breakers have been factored in to protect commuters from the elements.
Construction is expected to take between three and four months, with state government now in the process of getting planning approvals from Heritage Victoria.
In a statement Ms Allan said “the new bus interchange will mean better access to transport services and quieter local roads, making it easier for people to get where they need to go”.
The state government committed $5 million for the bus interchange in April 2017 after being a notable exclusion from the original $44 million Ballarat Station Precinct announcement in November 2016.
City of Ballarat Council has confirmed the temporary bus bays on Ararat Street and Lydiard Street North will both be reverted to public parking once the new facility is completed.
V/Line coaches will continue to operate from the existing bus bays to the south of the station platforms.
Domestic buses will enter and exit the precinct off Nolan Street to the north of the interchange, cutting down traffic congestion around Lydiard Street North.
Increased traffic along Lydiard Street North has been among the major bugbears for residents along the corridor since the temporary bus interchange was installed in late 2016.
A traffic engineering report produced for developer Pellicano suggests “it may be desirable to consider controlling the Station Access Road/Nolan Street intersection in the future when the bus terminus is constructed to the north of the station” with traffic lights, however funding has not yet been provided for this.
While the bus interchange will be fully disability compliant, concerns around access from the terminal and car park to platform one of Ballarat Station remain unresolved.
In a statement Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford said “we’re building the transport facilities Ballarat needs to support our growing community – this new bus interchange will make a big difference for local residents”.
The new plans come as construction ramps up on the 405-space car park at the north of the site, which is expected to be completed in November.
The remainder of the more than $50 million project, including development of the goods shed and Quest’s serviced apartments, will begin following the completion of the commuter car park.
In a statement Wendouree MP Sharon Knight said “these important projects will also boost jobs in our city”.