Anger at Gateway pedestrian crossing delay

PATIENCE is running short among Warrnambool residents who are disappointed with long delays in construction of a promised pedestrian crossing on Gateway Road.

The push started in 2012 with  hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for a safe crossing on the busy north-south route which runs parallel to Gateway Plaza shopping complex, Woolworths supermarket and other retail outlets.

Then in July last year the city council gave the green light to put a zebra crossing with flashing lights near the Wannon Water headquarters and another without lights further south, subject to VicRoads’ approval.

Several months later the proposed crossing near Wannon Water was again confirmed when Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine officially announced finer details of a major revision of bus routes which started in late January.

More than two months later there’s still no sign of the crossings.

City council officers explained this week discussions were continuing with VicRoads and expected  construction  to start by June.

“We are negotiating with VicRoads over some of their requirements for the crossing,” city infrastructure director Peter Robertson said.

“Because the crossing is categorised as a major traffic control item it requires VicRoads’ approval.”

VicRoads regional director William Tieppo confirmed the council had sought guidance from  the roads authority  on  criteria for different types of pedestrian crossings, including zebra crossings, flashing light crossings and signalised crossings.

“The criteria includes pedestrian volumes, age demographics, types of vehicles using the road, the existing speed limit at the location, as well as the location of public amenities such as shops,” he said.

“VicRoads and Warrnambool City Council will continue to have discussions as to the best option for this intersection. We expect a decision to be made in the near future.” 

Petition organiser Kat Kirley told The Standard she was disappointed with the delays and believed there was a likelihood the crossing standard may be downgraded and not have flashing lights.

“People who signed the petition expected to see it operating by now, especially those with disabilities and parents with young children,” she said.

Visually-impaired resident Bruce Cameron said it was a dangerous road to cross and he was seriously considering looking for another neighbourhood to live where crossings were safer.

“We’ve been waiting too long for this one,” he said.

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