1 September 2019
Major Road Projects Victoria is planning a massive change to the Fitzsimons Lane /Main Road roundabout intersection in Eltham – in the Eltham Gateway which is effectively the main and iconic entrance to the Green Wedge Shire.
The plan to remove the treed roundabout and replace it with sets of traffic lights will give us a vast hard surface road system. As a dedicated bus queue jump lane has been added to all approaches since the last plans were released to the public, outside Eltham Lower Park it will be 11 lanes wide– yes eleven!
Taken from Google Maps. Arriving at the Eltham Gateway roundabout ‘feels like coming home’ to many Eltham and Nillumbik residents.
After crossing the bridge over the Diamond Creek (one lane each way) and heading towards the roundabout, within 50-60 metres you will be faced with a choice of eight lanes, three of which will head towards Lower Plenty and the other five will head up the hill to Doncaster. Two of those five (the bus lane, which has been added since the plans were initially released to the public, and the lane to a small dirt road) will quickly disappear leaving three lanes that will become two at the Fitzsimons Lane bridge.
This Doncaster intersection is 10 lanes wide at these traffic lights, 4 lanes departing the lights and 6 going in the opposite direction. The new intersection at the Eltham Gateway will be 11 lanes wide outside Eltham Lower Park, 8 lanes departing the lights and 3 going in the opposite direction. As with the intersection pictured, there will be no room to plant trees in the central reservation.
Coming back from the city after leaving the Fitzsimons Lane bridge the two lanes become nine and split at the traffic light. Four lanes (one of which is a bus lane which has been added since the plans were released to the public) will head towards Lower Plenty /Bolton Street merging with the three lanes from Eltham. Of the remaining five, one is a u-turn to head back down Fitzsimons Lane (another addition since the plans were released) and the other four head towards Eltham with the bus lane (yes, you’ve got it, yet another addition since the plans were released) merging within the intersection with the other three lanes then rapidly becoming one before the Diamond Creek bridge.
The public consultation period was September /October last year however the general Eltham /Nillumbik community were totally unaware of the size of this proposal until August this year when MRPV wrote to Council asking that they agree to removing the area for this project from the planning scheme – meaning no public consultation.
Whilst a number of bus lanes and a u turn lane have been added to the proposed intersection since MRPV last published its plans online, updated plans are not yet available on the MRPV website. You can find the preliminary reference design above – map p3 & 4 – (although it doesn’t include the extra lanes) at the Major Road Projects Victoria website – Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade, you have to sign up to join https://your.roadprojects.vic.gov.au/fitzsimons-lane or you can download the plans here at https://your.roadprojects.vic.gov.au/38227/documents/89087
Contact ECAG on [email protected] for more information or MRPV 1800 105105 or Nillumbik Council 9433 3111 or your local Councillor or your local State MP – or all of them!!
This project is a terrible response to a problem that should be managed by the NE Link, and may have actually been partially alleviated by recent strategies. A different approach and strategies which could effectively handle the situation should be investigated.
Why destroy the amenity of the area? This roundabout signals ‘coming home’ to thousands of people each day. The change from an urban to a more natural environment is what typifies Nillumbik. The environmental and social cost will be a loss to the community now and for future generations.
Is saving a few minutes in traffic worth the destruction of the Gateway to the Green Wedge?