Once a popular shortcut from the city’s western arterial road to Wendouree, Gregory Street West will be reopened to traffic mid-year.
The road will be entirely reopened to the public, in order to provide a more direct route to Wendouree Station from Ballarat’s western suburbs, and could ease traffic congestion.
Traffic lights at the corner of Gregory Street West and Gillies Street North will be installed by VicRoads as part of the project to reopen the road.
The budget of the project was brought forward as part of the city’s capital works program, despite originally being envisaged as part of stage two of the Ballarat Link Road.
Gregory Street West connects to the completed part of the Link Road, which opened mid-last year, and will continue to do so once the Ring Road is closed in the medium term.
The city required approval to formally close a nearby rail track to complete the street reopening.
Gregory Street West was closed to through traffic in April 2007.
City of Ballarat director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo said the decision was made to bring forward the project after VicRoads funded traffic lights at the Wendouree intersection.
“The reason for progressing this now is to enhance the east west connectivity’s through Ballarat,” he said.
“Council’s commitment to this project was on the basis of the $56 million commitment through the state election process from the now State Government under the Keeping Ballarat Moving banner, which includes the Gillies Street, Gregory Street signalisation works.”
There is currently no right turn from Gregory Street West into Gillies Street, due to the construction works.
Brett O’Neill, the director of O’Neill Plumbing based on the Ring Road end of Gregory Street West, speculated the change might have positive safety impacts along the stretch.
“It doesn’t really worry me, we’ve been coming off the Ring Road for a long time, but having the option will be better,” he said.
“It might make it a bit safer down here though, because a lot of idiots do burnouts on the closed road so they can see what traffic is towards them, so through traffic might change that.”
Mr Demeo said the council was working with VicRoads to expedite the create of traffic lights. He flagged there may be interim intersection works in advance of the delivery of signals along Gillies Street.
The move comes as Wendouree Station get closer to an overhaul, with a second platform to be created and a new accessible pedestrian link between platforms.
Track will also be duplicated, to fix the current problem that sees delayed services from Melbourne terminate at Ballarat Station, with Wendouree passengers forced onto replacement buses because trains can’t pass in this section.
The project is being completed by Wayne Horne Earthmoving, who won the council tender in December last year.