Nightmare on Belmore Street
The current Belmore Street road works carried out by Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) to rebuild a 400-metre section of the road between the Yarrawonga-Mulwala Bridge and Piper Street is causing chaos and delays for motorists.
RRV closed off one lane on the entry to the Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge last week which banked up traffic throughout Belmore Street and the adjoining side streets.
Retailers have again been effected by the works with some saying last week was the worst week of trade since the height of the pandemic when they had limited opening hours.
Wingates Independent Sport Store owner Maurice Wingate said he was concerned about the works effecting this coming long weekend trade.
"I hope they consider this otherwise it will be a further blow to businesses still struggling from the pandemic,“ Mr Wingate said.
But it wasn’t just the Belmore Street traders that have been effected. Many delivery and trades business were effected along with truck drivers, one with a full load of livestock, who were severely delayed last Thursday. Many locals were late for work and residents were delayed getting to school to drop off and pick up their children. An ambulance during the morning also had to weave its way through heavily congested traffic to get over the bridge.
Local member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said his phone had been ringing off the hook with concerned residents.
“It’s disappointing that there was little to no notice for the broader public that the bridge would be changed to one way,” Mr McCurdy said.
Mr McCurdy said he was disappointed authorities could not see the resultant chaos and open the weir bridge while the works were being done. He said he had contacted RRV about the issue.
“It appears the MDBA who control the weir bridge don’t see the need to open it for a week.
“The will not open up the weir bridge unless it is an emergency and the main birdge is closed for more than 24 hours.
“It’s never going to be great when there are roadworks on Belmore Street but a bit of pre-planning may have averted this.
RRV have indicated the works to create a smoother, safer surface for all road users would take two months with the resurfacing expected to be finished this week, June 10.
A focus on pedestrian safety is a major component of the $1.5 million Belmore Street upgrade project.
RRV have confirmed that eight car parking spots will be removed to make way for multiple pedestrian (zebra) crossings located at existing informal crossing points at each intersection along Belmore Street to provide appropriate distance for reversing vehicles to the nearby crossing.
A reduced permanent speed limit of 40km/h and several speed cushions will also be installed on approaches to Belmore Street in Orr, Piper and Witt Street.
With traffic congestion already a problem on Belmore Street many people have already published their frustration about the expectant slowing of traffic from more pedestrian crossings and reduced speed limits on the Chronicle’s Facebook page.
Regional Director (Hume), Department of Transport Steve Bowmaker said RRV have worked closely with Moira Shire Council on this project and identified opportunities to improve safety for vulnerable road users including pedestrians and cyclists in a high-volume traffic area.
“We completed a full assessment of Belmore Street and found this section of the road required a pavement rehabilitation due to significant deterioration.
“The assessment revealed additional safety improvements, such as installing zebra crossings and the safer speed reduction, would improve safety for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists.”
Mr Bowmaker said that RRV engaged with businesses on the delivery of the planned works and received positive feedback despite many businesses saying they only knew of the project the week before after a flyer was dropped in on their front counters.
Mr Bowmaker also confirmed the pedestrian crossings will not include flashing lights.
For regular work updates, visit the RRV website (https://regionalroads.vic.gov.au) and search for Belmore Street Yarrawonga safety improvements.