Ballarat could face 12 months of gridlock on the roads as several major upgrade projects get under way at the same time.
The $60m Keeping Ballarat Moving project, which will upgrade six troublespots in Delacombe, Sebastopol, and Wendouree, is about to begin its next phase, with construction to start at Wiltshire Lane and Latrobe Street on August 4.
The current roundabout, which anecdotally has some of the worst traffic in the city, will be replaced with traffic lights.
It's expected to take about 10 months to complete, weather permitting, with significant delays expected on Wiltshire Lane, Learmonth Street, Carngham Road, and Latrobe Street.
A section of Learmonth Street will be fully closed during the "holiday period" at the end of 2021 until early 2022.
According to the state government, 20,000 drivers travel through the intersection every day, and this is projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2041.
While works on this project get started, further south at the Delacombe Town Centre, major works at the Glenelg Highway and Wiltshire Lane intersection are set to begin "later in 2021" following essential service relocations, while to the east, the planned roundabout at the Dyson Drive and Carngham Road intersection is also "due for completion in late 2022".
The new traffic lights on Gillies Street, at the Gregory Street intersection, are expected to be finished late this year or early next year, depending on the weather.
In Sebastopol, the Hertford Street and Midland Highway roundabout will be replaced with traffic lights, while extra lanes and a pedestrian crossing will be added on the Midland Highway between Docwra and Queen streets, with a roundabout at Docwra Street - no timeframe is set for these works.
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Earlier this year, The Courier took a survey of how long it takes to get from Delacombe into the CBD, following several routes at different start times, and another survey will take place when works get started later on.
The upgrades are sorely needed as growth continues booming to the city's south-west, and the focus stays on providing most services in the CBD.
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Regional Roads Victoria's acting Grampians region director, Angela Daraxoglou, said in a statement the project is "one of the largest packages of traffic upgrades in Ballarat's recent history", and as such needs "time to design and deliver", "(p)articularly given there are various lead-in times for the civil construction stage and different design and pre-construction requirements at each site".
"We acknowledge that there will be some reduced capacity during the construction, but we are taking steps to maintain traffic flow at each intersection while these upgrades are completed, and roads will remain open," she said in a statement.
Elsewhere in town, the traffic lights on Sturt Street West, at the Russell Street and Morrison Street intersection, are expected to be switched on "in early August", once the lights are connected to mains power and testing is completed.
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