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Residents feel the squeeze of Donnybrook Road

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

AFTER sitting in traffic for three hours to access Donnybrook Road, Kalkallo resident Keerthic Poulose was forced to cancel his shift at Austin Hospital earlier this month.

By the time Mr Poulose reached the second roundabout prior to exiting the estate where he lives, he was too late for his afternoon shift.

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Accessing Donnybrook Road is the only way out in some estates in Kalkallo, with an influx of residents in housing developments causing heavy congestion on roads.

Drivers heading towards the Hume Freeway from Donnybrook Road are subject to ‘traffic chaos’ at the linking roundabout near Mitchell Street, forced to give way to drivers from nearby suburbs on their way to and from work each morning.

Kalkallo alone has increased in population by more than 5000 people in the past five years.

Some residents said the rising population had not been accommodated for by road and traffic management solutions.  

“I am getting up at like five ‘clock [for morning shifts] so I can make it to work, otherwise there’s no way,” Mr Poulose said.

“If it’s going to take half an hour to 40 minutes to … exit the estate – which usually takes about five minutes with light traffic – that’s too much.”

Liberal Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Evan Mulholland raised the issue in parliament last month, calling on the state government to fast-track upgrades on Donnybrook Road.

He said it was incumbent on the State Government to properly plan suburbs and model traffic before residents move in, not wait until afterwards.

Liberal Member for the Northern Metropolitan Region Evan Mullholland, second from right, met with dozens of residents at the Kalkallo market recently, discussing traffic congestion concerns.

Mr Mulholland said traffic was the number one issue raised with him, with residents particularly worried about how they would exit the housing estate in the event of a fire.

“Worryingly, after the recent grass fires at Donnybrook and Beveridge, residents are concerned that if there were a ‘leave now’ alert due to fire, they wouldn’t be able to get out – it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen,” Mr Muholland said.

Mr Poulose, who moved into Cloverton Estate with a young family last year, said a fire was not the only situation he had considered.

“For any sort of emergencies, my son has a [nut] allergy … and if he ingested a bit of a nut by accident and the traffic’s like that, there’s no way of getting out,” he said.

Mr Mulholland called for the government to allocate money from the Growth Area Infrastructure Fund for traffic solutions.

“The council and the developers could build five exits onto Donnybrook Road, but while it grinds to a single lane standstill there is still going to be traffic chaos,” he said.

“The Premier might not be aware whose fault this is, but the blame squarely lies at the feet of his Labor Government.”

A State Government spokesperson said there were plans to enhance traffic flow in the area.

“We’re upgrading the Donnybrook Road and Mitchell Street intersection to boost safety and improve traffic flow in this growing area,” they said.

The upgrade will include the addition of a continuous left turn lane at the eastern leg of the intersection.

A Precinct Structure Plan marks three access points to the development along Donnybrook Road, and as part of the plan, the estate developer Stockland will build Cloverton Boulevard, which includes a road bridge over Merri Creek – providing access for Cloverton estate residents to Donnybrook Road.

The government spokesperson said constructing the access points was a shared responsibility of developers and councils.

The traffic congestion has also caused difficulties with public transportation, some schools opting to organise their own private buses to assist their students.

The government is also introducing new direct bus services in the next few months for students living in Donnybrook, Kalkallo, Craigieburn, and Mickleham that go to a government-zoned school.

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