The streets around the Ballarat Base Hospital are among the busiest in town, and they'll only get busier once the $460 million upgrades begin.
The state government's getting the basics done first, with a new pedestrian zebra crossing on Drummond Street in front of the main entrance, a larger roundabout at the intersection of Drummond and Mair Streets, and better pedestrian access around the roundabout.
The centre median line will also be widened.
The speed limit on Drummond Street between Sturt and Webster streets will be permanently reduced to 40km/h as well.
Designs provided by Regional Roads Victoria show an altered bus stop on Drummond Street heading south, and kerb outstands on either side of the centre pedestrian refuge.
Ballarat Health Services chief executive Dale Fraser said more than 5000 people per day go in and out of the hospital.
"Couple that with the flow of patients going into St John and the vibrant medical practices around here - this is a very busy part of Ballarat, so this is a small investment that will go a long way," he said.
Regional Roads Victoria western region director Michael Bailey said the hospital, Ambulance Victoria, and the community all had input into the final design - it's understood a fully separated median was removed to allow greater ambulance mobility.
"There'll be a passable centre median put in so they can drive straight across it and get out as quickly as possible as required," he said.
"If you speak to the hospital, they'll tell you there's an accident or near miss every day."
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Jaala Pulford said it was important to get this work done now, as the city continues to grow.
"There are people coming and going here all the time, visiting loved ones, coming to access health services themselves, or whether they're coming and going because they're part of a very large and growing workforce," she said.
"We're apologising to the Ballarat community a lot at the moment, there's the roundabout at Hertford Street (in Sebastopol), half a road closed around GovHub, there's so much going on at the station, this hospital will soon be a massive construction site as well as a really important centre for healthcare, and there's the Sturt Street intersections are going on as well," she said.
"Our message, as it always is, allow an extra couple of minutes, be patient, it'll all be worth it."
Wendouree MP Juliana Addison added Ballarat Health Services was the biggest employer in the region, and will continue to grow.
"We want everyone who's going to work, looking after us, is as safe as they possibly can be," she said.
"We all know what it's like to get the call to say we need to come up to emergency because there's a family member there, we're sometimes not as focused on our driving when we're coming up to the hospital to find out what's going on, so this will help us become safer drivers."
Mr Fraser said the massive upgrade works was still in the planning stages, but is still expected to be complete by 2026.
"We're finalising the business case for the hospital redevelopment, that's going through the Treasury process at the moment," he said.
"We'll see some preliminary works commencing this year, already we've got people coming on site and drilling holes - I would expect construction and demolition to commence in 2021, and a five year construction period."
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