SAFETY at a notorious Bendigo intersection has been significantly increased with the activation of traffic lights and unveiling of upgrades, close to four years after the first plans were announced.
The intersection of Tannery Lane and Strathfieldsaye Road has long been a source of frustration among residents campaigning for upgrades to safety for all road users.
New traffic lights at the reconfigured intersection were switched on for the first time this week, while pedestrian crossings are also among $4.5 million worth of work.
The project came into focus before the 2014 Victorian election when then Bendigo East candidates Jacinta Allan and Greg Bickley each pledged funding toward building a roundabout at the intersection.
The scope of the project changed again in 2016 when the government committed to traffic lights at the intersection, bumping the cost up from a projected $800,000 to $4.5 million committed in that year’s budget.
Plans were released in 2017 and the project was expected to be completed by the end of last year but VicRoads’ Matt Gard said this week the complex nature of the underground infrastructure at the site had pushed completion back.
He said VicRoads had also undertaken extensive consultation with residents to determine what upgrades were needed.
Ms Allan said the delays had been due to the government and VicRoads wanting to get the right outcome for the community.
“The initial thinking had been that a roundabout would be the best solution but after a lot of thinking was done by VicRoads it was decided that traffic lights were the way to go,” she said.
“The cost of the lights is $4.5 million but we think that’s an important investment in the safety of the community.
“Particularly because we want to encourage a lot of the students to ride and walk to school and encourage that active transport and they can do that now much more safely.”
Ms Allan also announced this week the completion of upgrades to the Napoleon Crescent crossing as part of the Napier Street upgrade in White Hills.