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Mitchell Shire Council advocates to slow speed zone in Wallan

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Mitchell Shire Council is going in to bat to change the speed zone along a section of the Northern Highway in Wallan – an area that has troubled the community for many years.

Council discussed the speed zone between ALDI and Taylors Lane, Wallan, at its August meeeting.

It decided to write a letter advocating to the Department of Transport and Planning to permanently extend the 60 kilometres per hour zone past Wallan Secondary College and Greenhill Reserve’s entrance.

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Vehicles leaving the Hume Freeway are reduced to 100km/h then to 80km/h south of Taylors Lane, before entering a 60km/h zone about 550 metres north of the Taylors Lane and Northern Highway intersection.

Northbound traffic remains at 80km/h passing Taylors Lane, Duke Street and the ALDI service road – but prior to 2017 this area was 60kmh.

The patrolled school crossing relies on 40km/h variable speed signs during its operation.

Council officers found while it will increase travel time along that particular section of the highway by about two minutes, the added safety warrants further consideration of speed reduction.

Cr Bob Cornish submitted the motion and said he had been meaning to submit ‘for some time’.

“The silly part here is Duke Street is on both sides of the Northern Highway and both sides are in different speed zones,” he said.

“You’ve seen the results of crash tests sometimes shown on TV. The effect of 80km/h compared to 60km/h can be quite devastating.

“So when you think about the location, you just come past Duke Street and there’s an ambulance on the corner, there’s the Nexus medical centre, which is the major one in the Wallan township, and you’ve got ALDI.

“You’re coming out at a very acute angle turning right looking over your shoulder at traffic coming down at 80km/h, so you haven’t got much time to make up your mind whether it’s safe or not to come out.”

Cr Rob Eldridge said the section of the road had been ‘a trouble spot for some time’ because of the speed limit.

“It’s basically a legacy before Wallan really started to grow and I think it makes a lot of sense to actually move [the 60km/h zone],” he said.

“I’d personally put it [the 60 zone] past Taylors Lane. That’s really where the town of Wallan starts and it doesn’t make sense near a school pedestrian crossing, an ambulance station and a major commercial setup to have an 80km/h at the front.

“There’s near-misses in there and if it wasn’t for some very courteous drivers letting people into the Northern Highway, you would never get out of those streets.”

Cr David Lowe also supported the move.

“I could not believe the change that was made five to six years ago when we actually increased the speed limit coming into the township,” he said.

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