CALLS for improvements to the Sedgwick-Mandurang Road are continuing, with residents and road users raising concerns about the safety of the thoroughfare.
Farmer Noel Storey has lived in Sedgwick for nearly all his life and says the road is busier than ever.
Not only with motorists, but the road is also a popular cycling route.
The dangers of the road were tragically highlighted by the death of professional cyclist Jason Lowndes in December when he was struck by a car while riding.
But Mr Storey, a fifth-generation farmer in the area, says he and other residents had raised concerns well before that.
“We’ve been at council before that and been to Jacinta Allan the local member. Who knows, it might be 2022 before they do anything,” he said.
“It’s 6.4 kilometres between Mandurang and the Sedgwick school and it’s an absolute death trap.”
Mr Storey has driven more than four million kilometres in his work as a bus driver and is just one of a host of road users calling for improvements in the area.
Those calls have been answered in part by council, which has secured about $400,000 in funding from the federal government’s blackspot program.
That will go toward improved signage, road realignment, shoulder sealing and guard fence on the stretch either side of Storeys Road.
But council estimates that a further $1.8m could be needed to complete the safety works it would like to see for the road.
“We’ll continue to push for more funding to get more work done along that stretch of road,” engineering manager Brett Martini said.
“That particular spot near Storeys Road is prone to single car incidents where vehicles run off the road which is why we applied for that area.”
Mr Martini said the road presented a number of challenges, including a narrow road reserve, parts of the road sitting outside of the road reserve in a “mistake of history”.
“There are a number of challenges in terms of development along there, including the road reserve not being very wide and needing to find a balance between preserving native vegetation and ensuring the safety of road users,” he said.
Mr Martini said that council had held discussions with representatives from the cycling community as well as motorists to inform its applications.
VicRoads will also work with the council to ensure the safety of the road.
“We encourage drivers and cyclists to share the road, drive to conditions and respect each other to improve safety for all road users,” VicRoads’ Brian Westley said.
“We will continue to work closely with City of Greater Bendigo to find the balance between mobility, community needs and safety.”
– Joel Peterson