By Pam Kiriakidis
THE Kalkallo and Donnybrook communities are calling for the duplication of Donnybrook Road and replacement of the Mitchell Street roundabout with traffic lights to boost infrastructure struggling to keep pace with a growing population.
A petition, organised by Kalkallo resident Ally Watson, is requesting a financial commitment in the 2024 State Budget for the road’s upgrade, in hope of a duplication.
Donnybrook Road is the main thoroughfare between estates in Kalkallo and Donnybrook.
Accessing the single-lane road from the estates to the Hume Freeway often takes drivers about 40 minutes, facing stand-still traffic before giving way to neighbouring suburbs at the Mitchell Street roundabout.
“I’ve lived here for five and a half years, and we’ve had a lot of issues with one road in, one road out of the estate,” Ms Watson said.
“But what we’re seeing now is not only do we have more people moving into Kalkallo and Cloverton estates but as more people are moving down the Donnybrook corridor, the traffic on Donnybrook Road is getting really substantial and creating even longer disruptions.”
The petition has more than 1500 signatures from residents and visitors, many of whom had moved to Kalkallo between 2016 and 2021, when the population increased by 5000.
“Clearly the number of signatures gathered in a relatively short period of time demonstrates in itself that this is a community issue, that the community feels strongly about,” Ms Watson said.
She said there was ‘limited community infrastructure’ within the estates for residents to remain in the local area when it came to daily tasks, making travel towards the freeway almost always necessary.
“You have to leave to do shopping, there’s only a few schools, there’s no secondary school, so those students have to leave the area in the morning to go to school,” she said.
“It’s a combination of not only having a road that isn’t very big, and a growing population, but the fact that you have to leave for a lot of things.”
Major Road Projects Victoria will start to build a dedicated left turn for southbound travel onto Hume Freeway later this month, alongside upgrades including widening the on-ramp to the Hume, modifying street lighting and traffic islands and road resurfacing.
While the upgrades aim to significantly reduce peak time congestion and alleviate queuing of traffic on Donnybrook Road and Dwyer Street, Ms Watson said Donnybrook Road needed a long-term solution to accommodate for the growing population.
Member for Kalkallo Ros Spence, who supports and issued the petition, said the current road network was ‘not appropriate’ for the rapidly growing area.
“Residents are spending far too long in their cars to get a very short distance,” she said.
“Local residents are frustrated and fed up with the traffic congestion and delays of up to an hour to get onto the freeway.”
Ms Spence said it was important that planning was underway to ease traffic concerns, particularly for the duplication of Donnybrook and signalisation of the Mitchell Street intersection.
To sign the petition visit, bit.ly/3ZdZdi9.