TRAVELLERS between Wonga Park and Warrandyte now have an extra 10km added to their journey times as the first stage of construction of the road upgrade has now commenced.
Work started on April 21 with a 350 metre stretch of road between Potters Cottage and Nelson Drive closed to through traffic, and diversions will remain in place until complete, which is currently scheduled for end of August.
The diversion route is lengthy, and involves a 10km detour along Ringwood-Warrandyte, Croydon, Wonga, Brysons and Yarra Roads.
There will be access through the works for emergency vehicles at all times, and access for residents within the work zone will be allowed for most of the time.
This is a continuation of Stage 1A of this massive project which will eventually rebuild the entire length of Jumping Creek Road from Ringwood-Warrandyte Road through to Homestead Road.
Stage 1A commenced over a year ago with some minor works including the relocation of electricity, gas and water lines.
These works will involve removing the existing road pavement in order to significantly lower part of the road to improve sightlines for road users, new drainage infrastructure including pits, pipes, kerb and channel, retaining walls, safety barriers, a pedestrian path and landscaping.
But those living along the diversion route have expressed their concern on Facebook about the extra traffic and the speed with which it travels.
Leanne Torpey, who lives on a bend in Brysons Rd close to a blind corner posted a video showing the new traffic problems and received over a hundred comments and replies.
Most of these were supportive but, as is typical with Facebook, a few were abusive with one respondent suggesting “You’ve clearly bought on a blind corner, therefore it’s your issue” missing the fact that some of these people have been there for 25 or more years and the traffic was not an issue when they bought.
Kerrie Reid posted “Sadly the last 48 hours has seen a HUGE increase in the amount of traffic on Brysons Road upon the closure of Jumping Creek Rd.
“It’s like the Monaco GP has been relocated to Brysons Rd — not just for the day, but for months!”
Fiona Jane agreed, “Totally ridiculous that all the traffic is being diverted down Brysons which is narrow and winding with broken edges.
“Traffic should be going down Yarra Rd — wider, straighter and can carry the traffic load.”
A number of people have commented on the fact that Brysons Rd has a number of horse properties and there have been a few near misses with fast cars trying to overtake slow horse floats.
Leanne Torpey spoke to the Diary and told us that residents had received advice about the diversions from Manningham Council only a couple of weeks in advance, which was too late for residents to make submissions to the next council meeting.
“Cyclists are now riding along the footpath because the road is too dangerous” she told us.
She has been trying to get the speed limit on Brysons Rd changed from 60 km/h to 50 km/h for the duration of the diversions.
However the Department of Transport has told her that they can’t change the speed limit as that requires the approval of Manningham Council.
Manningham Council has told us that it “has not proposed any changes to speed limits along the detour routes and any proposed speed limit changes would require Department of Transport approval.”
The original Jumping Creek Road Development Framework was endorsed by Manningham Council in 2016 and arose because between January 2009 and December 2013, a total of 17 crashes resulting in casualties were reported at Jumping Creek Road, including one fatal crash.
Rachelle Quattrocchi, Director City Services at Manningham Council, told the Diary, “The Jumping Creek Road project aims to improve safety for all road users and upgrade the infrastructure of the road in a way that that supports the local area.
“The works underway between Ringwood-Warrandyte Road and Nelson Drive form part of stage 1 of the project and are the first step of the upgrade of this important local road in Manningham.
“The design for future stages is currently in development with further consultation planned in early 2021.”
Safety push for Research-Warrandyte Road
By DAVID HOGG
AS MENTIONED in our February edition, Ben Ramcharan, Australian Greens candidate for Warrandyte, together with local residents Renee Peta and Simone Mariani had written to VicRoads, State MPs and MLCs, and local councillors and mayors calling for improved road safety for local residents, road users and pedestrians following a number of serious accidents on the road.
In mid-April, Mr Ramcharan posted on Facebook that they had just heard that the Department of Transport (DoT) will continue to work with both Nillumbik Council and Victoria Police to determine the need to implement road safety improvements in the area.
“This is a great win for our community but it’s important to keep the pressure up.
“What we’ve had now is an acknowledgement from the department that they’ve heard us.
“Let’s keep pushing; our community deserves to be safe and I know this is something that can be achieved,” he said.
The post has resulted in over 30 varied and differing comments.
Matthew Magilton was sceptical.
“I think the DoT borrowed from one of Utopia’s scripts; promising substantially nothing but using warm and glowing terms.”
Cathie Joy wanted to see the speed limit on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road lowered, whereas Robyn Galley suggested that returning the speed limit to 80 km/h on Research-Warrandyte Road would be a start.
Another correspondent wanted to know how they proposed to make improvements, and was concerned that the move might result in ugly railing being put up everywhere.
Jillian Garvey was keen to ensure that any changes to Research-Warrandyte Road do not result in trucks using Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road instead.
Sharron Weight believes that the North East Link is the only way to stop the trucks driving through Warrandyte, and we should mention that there has been speculation in the press over the past few weeks that in view of the Coronavirus costs, the North East Link project may be in doubt.
Ryan Smith, State Member for Warrandyte, wrote to Benita Quine whose family were victims of the oil tanker rollover in January, advising “It seems some measures will be taken to slow vehicles down on that road which is a good outcome, given yours is not the only accident I am aware of on that stretch.
“I have raised the matter of these local truck movements and the inexperience of some heavy vehicle drivers with the Victorian Transport Association.
“They are currently in discussion with the government about increased training requirements for new drivers, and I hope this will, in time, lead to our roads being that much safer.”
So the views expressed are all very varied.
One thing is certain in that whilst almost everyone agrees that something needs to be done, there is absolutely no detail as to what should be done and locals will have some very firm views once the details are released.
Hopefully the DoT, Nillumbik Council and Victoria Police will get their heads together and come up with some specific proposals and advice.