Major Road Projects Victoria released the latest design update this week. Representatives of ECAG and other Eltham residents with a range of applicable skills and interests met with the MRPV Project Team in the last week of February. We have met on several occasions, the last in November last year, and had hoped that we would meet again before a plan that they appear to consider the final, was released.
Initial comments/issues on this revised reference design are:
It is difficult to compare the plan and the artist’s impression as they do not always tally.
The artist’s impression is misleading in relation to contours. – it forgets about hills.
The lanes on the roads forming the intersection will be:
Nine (9) lanes plus a bike lane across both sides of Main Road on the Lower Plenty side of the intersection
Eight (8) lanes plus 2 bike lanes across both sides Main Road on the Eltham side of the intersection
Ten (10) lanes across both sides of Fitzsimons Lane on the Templestowe side of the intersection. Not much of a decrease in the footprint! It certainly does not look appreciably smaller.
They could not tell us numerically how much narrower/smaller the footprint would be. Nor could they show us an image with the revised reference design overlaid on the previous. We have asked that for that to be provided.
MRPV could not tell us what the time savings will be for drivers?? Not in peak. Or off peak. Or between any 2 points eg the Diamond Creek bridge and Rosehill Rd. They said it all depends!! Obviously times will vary but to not be able to give an average or approximate time for certain scenarios is certainly not good enough. 55 seconds average wait at the lights was mentioned. (when you get there) Plus a possible 70 seconds depending on when, in the light sequence, you arrive.
Merging lanes from 3 at the intersection to 1 lane at the Diamond Creek bridge in such a short distance will be a problem.
The potentially dangerous positioning of a signalized crossover at the Fitzsimons Lane to Lower Plenty Rd curve, just as you come at speed down the hill and take the curve ( similar to the Wattletree Rd lights when coming from Research) is a potential safety issue.
MRPV say this design will save some trees, basically along the continuation of Bolton St. None of the red ribboned trees fall within that area.
There will be large ugly barriers on the concrete median strips.
The medium strips and triangle will not be used for trees or any substantial planting as they would have to be surrounded by large barriers.
The traffic accident reports that we have received from VicRoads and another source do not tally. If, as it is claimed, 60000 vehicles a day use Fitzsimons Lane, the accident rate involving injury over 4 years is small. International research as well as state government literature confirms that roundabouts are safer than traffic lights so it is likely the removal of the roundabout will NOT see a reduction in serious accidents.
The suggestions that our Eltham traffic/road experts had made for a through lane from Eltham to Fitzsimons Lane and a hook turn treatment at Bolton St have been rejected. Our experts have asked for a more detailed analysis.
The preferred tenderer consortium will be selected within the next couple of months. There is opportunity for the consortium to make changes to the project if they can produce a good case to MRPV eg cost saving.
MRVP still seem to have not taken on board the statistics showing that NELink will reduce the traffic in this corridor by 20% and that there are two branches of government each spending millions of dollars to solve the same problem. If these and growth figures are accurate it will take until 2050 for traffic to reach present volumes.