Gisborne residents have thrown their support behind a push for a truck bypass of the fast-growing regional centre, with an increasing number of heavy vehicles using roads from Melton and Bacchus Marsh.
Congestion on major thoroughfares, including Brantome, Robertson and Hamilton streets, at the intersection of Station and Saunders roads and the intersection of Melbourne and Kilmore roads has led Macedon Ranges councillor Russell Mowatt to call for development of a new route to divert trucks away from Gisborne’s centre.
Welcoming the council’s release of a study including recommendations to ease congestion, extend bus services and add cycling and parking infrastructure, Cr Mowatt said increased traffic from 2009 to this year had greatly exceeded predictions.
“The previous 2009 study assumed an overall average increase of 30 per cent,” he said.
“However, the latest data comparisons show an average traffic increase of 42.57 per cent.”
Cr Mowatt said major housing developments meant tens of thousands more vehicles would be using Gisborne roads in the near future.
“Time is of the essence,” he said.
“The state government and VicRoads need to work in partnership with council and the community to provide appropriate funding to address a number of hotspot roads identified in the study.”
The study reveals that about 726 heavy vehicles are using Bacchus Marsh-Gisborne Road and Robertson Street every day.
More than 443 are travelling on Station Road and the Gisborne-Melton Road.
“This combined total represents 1169 heavy vehicle movements per day,” Cr Mowatt said.
He said action was needed before “we drown in the congestion, gridlocks and frustration of finding parking”.
“We also cannot wait another five to 10 years to start this work for a bypass,” he added.
“We must start the conversation now.”
Gisborne resident Michelle Minchew recently moved from Cherry Lane after 14 years, in part due to the spike in truck numbers.
“The noise had changed. Honestly, it’s just 24/7,” she said. “It wakes you up at night.”
Gisborne Roads Group chairman Bruce Overall said the number of heavy vehicles travelling from the western districts, Melbourne Airport and the western suburbs to areas such as Bendigo and Elmore was already a major problem.
“So often, they all meet up in Aitken Street and everybody has trouble getting through,” he said.
“Without a bypass, Station Road will be totally gridlocked within two years.”
VicRoads regional director Mal Kersting said the authority would continue to work with the council as part of any review.
Submissions on the council’s study close July 29.