Lydiard Street is a step closer to opening to traffic after 327 days, after it was announced boomgates will "likely" form at least an interim solution.
But traders in the area say they have waited long enough for action.
The level crossing was closed when a malfunctioning train crashed through the southern heritage-style swing gates in May 2020 - the road has been closed since.
That's a "ridiculous situation", according to the Provincial Hotel's Simon Coghlan.
"12 months in with no interim solution is a joke," he said.
"To have the visitors coming and staying at our business and almost laughing at the state of play, that these gates have been closed for almost 12 months while the bureaucrats do nothing - it's incredibly frustrating to see the lack of progress.
"We get more updates from the media than from the stakeholders."
He said an interim solution, using boomgates, is appropriate.
"If the heritage process takes another 12 months, that's fine, plan it and get it right, execute it when all the ducks have been lined up - in the interim, just get the crossing open," he said.
"I would be fine with an interim boomgate, we need to get traffic moving, we need to get it open."
Next door, Lawrence and Hanson electrical wholesalers has noticed an increase in traffic, as drivers get caught at the crossing and take Ararat Street to get north of the CBD.
Sales representative John Dooley said he was concerned about driver safety, particularly when his business had trucks and tradies dropping off and picking up goods.
"They're frustrated, it's noticeable - they can't head out through Market Street to Creswick Road because it's blocked," he said.
"The main concern is that customers can't get in and out safely - we've got our state representatives, and they really have to talk to their superiors, their peers, and get something done."
On the other side of the railway tracks, Peter Wills' Lydiard Furniture and Antiques has had a noticeable drop in foot traffic.
"I've been here for nearly 30 years, I can survive but if you're someone who didn't own the properties, or have the stock, or if you had staff, it'd be digging deeper into you," he said.
"I was here when it previously occurred 25 years ago, when the chain broke under the ground, they said they couldn't fix it, they fixed it, there's been no problem since.
"Maybe they're just working for the solution they want, instead of one that works for everyone, which I think is poor - sure it's a bit more complex, but it shouldn't take a year, and they shouldn't be opting for boomgates as a way out unless it's absolutely impossible to fix it."
Further up, the new Quest hotel's property manager Gerry Bourke said the closure had been "challenging".
"It's also difficult for guests from out of town to navigate to the hotel at the moment, with many visitors getting lost down surrounding streets and having to call reception for help - it's really not the best experience for our valued tourists," he said in a statement.
"We hope the matter can be resolved at long last and allow people to move freely throughout our wonderful city."
Following a meeting with City of Ballarat councillors on Wednesday night, the Department of Transport confirmed the proposal under development will "likely include the installation of boomgates", according to head of transport services Nick Foa.
"We've heard loud and clear that the Ballarat community wants Lydiard Street open to traffic, so we are working on a plan to reopen Lydiard Street sooner," he said in a statement.
"We are developing a proposal to get this important thoroughfare open as quickly and safely as possible, and that is likely to include the installation of boom gates.
"We know that this is an issue close to the heart of the community and we'll continue to provide updates as things progress."
V/Line's acting chief executive, Gary Liddle, said plans are being developed "as quickly as possible", that are "both safe and respectful of the precinct's significant heritage - and we're working with Heritage Victoria to progress the required permit as quickly as possible".
"We discussed the work that is being done to develop these plans with the City of Ballarat last night and we will continue to keep those lines of communication with our stakeholders open, as well as providing regular updates to the community," he said in a statement.
V/Line also reiterated there were no safety concerns with VLocity trains traveling through the crossing.
While the department has appointed heritage consultants Lovell Chen for the project, Heritage Victoria confirmed no permit application has been made to reconstruct or install new or temporary gates.
According to Heritage Victoria, their preference is that the gates are reconstructed as they are part of the heritage significance of the Ballarat Railway Station Complex.
In determining a permit application Heritage Victoria must consider the impact on the cultural heritage values of the place and other factors including public submissions when the permit application is advertised.
If a permit is to be refused, there must be consideration of the extent to which the reasonable or economic use of the place will be affected.
If a permit was issued for a temporary gates, the requirement for a longer term solution can be conditioned through the permit.
City of Ballarat councillor Samantha McIntosh said there needed to be reassurances that the heritage-style swing gates would eventually return in a permanent solution.
"It is not okay just because we've had the road closed off for a year that all of a sudden anyone thinks it's okay just to get rid of the gates just because we need the road open," she said.
"We do need the road open, we do need an interim solution, we do want Heritage Victoria working very closely with VicRoads and V/Line for an adequate solution - an adequate solution is reflecting the fact that the gates and mechanics are contributory to this heritage precinct, it means so much to the history of Ballarat.
"We need to fix the problems that are here, we need to look after our heritage, and we need to give our community, our ratepayers, access to a street they deserve to have access to."
City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said council was "frustrated" with the lack of action.
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"I think it's great they're still meeting with us and talking with us, and have clearly now appointed a heritage consultant, but I think we're understating things to say we're still disappointed," he told The Courier on Thursday morning.
"There's no hint of a time frame or discussion about details for longer term solutions yet.
Save Our Station president Gerald Jenzen said there is a "trust issue".
"I understand there's a preference to not have gates that block off the line, but there are exceptional circumstances that should give consideration to it because they are heritage gates, the only ones around," he said.
"They've already got the (replacement) gates, so what have we been waiting for, wasting a year, to get to this stage? For 20 years, these gates have operated satisfactorily."
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