CONSTRUCTION of long-awaited traffic lights in Mt Eliza where Tower Rd and Volitans Ave join the Nepean Hwy is set to start next week.
The $500,000 project is a win for safety campaigners who have been lobbying for lights or turning restrictions since 2008 at the acknowledged black spot.
The federal government will contribute $400,000 and Mornington Peninsula Shire $100,000. Construction will be managed by state government authority VicRoads.
The project, due to be completed in December, will include a pedestrian-operated crossing north of the intersection, cycling lanes, moving of the southbound bus stop, and a concrete footpath.
Vehicle-activated, under-road pads at Tower Rd will trigger the lights, allowing vehicles to enter Nepean Hwy safely.
Federal infrastructure minister Warren Truss said the project would “make major improvements to road safety for all users of this section of the Nepean Hwy, including pedestrians and cyclists”.
“In the five years between January 2009 and December 2013 there were six crashes on this section of the highway including two fatalities and two serious injuries,” Mr Truss said.
Federal Dunkley MP Bruce Billson, who lobbied for the government money, said the road would be “safer for motorists, for pedestrians to cross and for cyclists to navigate, especially near the bus stop”.
“Safety upgrades to this stretch of road are badly needed … and I am relieved the work is set to begin,” he said.
“Cycling lanes with a green-coloured surface treatment will improve safety for the many cyclists who ride through the area.”
The original cost was $300,000 but the price went up when VicRoads said the lights needed vehicle-activated pads at Tower Rd.
This should avoid dangerous manoeuvres by drivers who have run out of patience trying to enter the highway.
Mornington MP David Morris, who lives in Mt Eliza, called for the state government to improve the intersection when he spoke in the Parliament mid-April.
He said there had been “substantial development of the roads feeding into Tower Rd and to a lesser extent from Volitans Ave, but there are a lot more cars wanting to get onto the highway, and that has contributed to pressure on the intersection”.
Shire mayor Cr Bev Colomb said the works would reduce traffic congestion.
“This is a busy section of the highway used by about 27,000 vehicles a day. When the project is completed, improved traffic flows through the intersection will reduce congestion problems,” she said.
During construction, one highway lane in each direction will be closed between 9.30am and 3pm and the speed limit will be reduced.