By Jackson Russell
Work has begun on a new $4.7 million roundabout at the intersection of Main and Barry streets in Romsey, which will improve safety and traffic flow.
Construction of a second roundabout is also underway at Melbourne-Lancefield Road and Gisborne-Kilmore Road in Monegeetta, as part of the next stage of major safety upgrades for Melbourne-Lancefield Road.
Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas said construction on the Barry Street roundabout project was expected to be completed by June 2020, weather permitting.
The roundabout works come after the installation of new pedestrian lights on Main Street.
“In coming months, contractors will remove the existing road, kerb and channel to construct a new roundabout, a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists, street lighting and landscaping and relocate power lines underground,” Ms Thomas said.
Traffic management will be in place with speeds reduced to 40km/h for the safety of the community and workers.
All traffic will be able to pass through the intersection during construction however Barry Street could be closed at times to allow the project to progress.
The package of Melbourne-Lancefield Road works are expected to be complete by mid-to-late 2020.
Further works getting underway to improve safety on Melbourne-Lancefield Road include a northbound overtaking lane and new flexible safety barriers between Monegeetta and Romsey.
The barriers will be installed centreline and on the roadside in high-risk locations to reduce the likelihood and severity of head-on and run-off road crashes.
Ms Thomas said the roundabout projects follow after community concern regarding traffic issues in Romsey.
“We’ve listened to the community and are making sure these high-risk intersections are much safer by building two new roundabouts – which are proven to drastically reduce the risk of crashes,” she said.
Romsey Region Business and Tourism Association president Jenny Stillman said the roundabout would result in a safer entrance to the township and possibly encourage more traffic to stop.
“Regardless of which option is preferred, the end result will be a safer intersection and traffic being slower as it comes into the town centre,” she said.
“There’s also the opportunity of vehicles maybe taking the time to stop as well.”
While businesses near the intersection will be affected, business owners acknowledged something had to be done.
Romsey Hardware owner Nick Waldhauser said he would lose most of the car parking in front of the store but it was better than having to attend to crashes at the intersection.
“In the past, there are some weeks where we’ve had to take notepads [for people to take insurance details] out twice a week. There are that many accidents,” he said.
“We’ll probably lose eight or nine car parks out of it, which is basically the entire front of the store and you won’t be able to park as easily at the side because of the roundabout.
“Something had to be done, whether this is the right option I don’t know but it was a dangerous intersection.”