What is the Suburban Roads Upgrade

The Northern Roads Upgrade is one of three packages in the Suburban Roads Upgrade. The Suburban Roads Upgrade is a $4 billion investment in the Northern, South-Eastern and Western suburbs to ease congestion, and to make it quicker, easier and safer for commuters to get to where they are going.

How will traffic lights improve the upgraded intersections?

Traffic lights are the best solution to manage traffic flow at major intersections as they are able to move more traffic through the intersection during green time than roundabouts where motorists must slow down and give way to their right. Traffic lights also provide a safer environment for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians because they provide signalised crossing points across busy roads.

Traffic lights are responsive to traffic conditions which will improve flow and reliability. More green time can be allocated to the busy movements to allow more vehicles to travel through the intersection without having to slow down, give way and negotiate a roundabout. They also provide vehicles travelling from less busy approaches a safe and timely option to enter the intersection. 

Why are more lanes needed at the intersections?

We know that the intersections along Fitzsimons Lane cause congestion and traffic delays with traffic queues growing up to around 2km in length.

The queuing and delays are due to high volumes of traffic trying to navigate through the roundabouts/intersections, and the uneven demands from the different approaches to the intersection. To improve the flow and provide more reliable travel times, more lanes and extra lane lengths are required.

We’ve designed the intersections to:

  • move motorists who are waiting at an intersection through the intersection in one traffic light cycle; and
  • ensure turning vehicles don’t block adjacent lanes and cause delays or safety hazards.

Why are traffic lights more beneficial than the existing roundabout in these locations?

Each intersection layout has a particular vehicle capacity and operates best at certain volumes.

Roundabouts can only service a certain volume of traffic. Once traffic volumes exceed this threshold, a roundabout will impact flow and increase congestion.

At busy roundabouts it can be difficult to enter the roundabout if there are a high number of vehicles entering from the right and you have to give way to them. This causes delays and may lead to drivers taking unnecessary risks to enter the roundabout.

Intersections with traffic lights allow more traffic to travel through it as the movements receive clear and consistent green time. Traffic signals at busy intersections also provide safer crossings for pedestrian and cyclists.

How will flow be improved when lanes drop to one or two lanes on the departure side of the intersection?

We know that delays most commonly occur at the intersections during peak times. Moving vehicles through the intersection will minimise these delays.

The additional lanes at the intersection are required to move more traffic across the intersection during each green traffic light. Whilst there may be some slow movements once motorists are through the intersection and are merging lanes, motorists will experience a better flow and more reliable journey overall.

How will traffic noise be reduced?

All works and upgrades completed on arterial roads such as Fitzsimons Lane are required to comply with the VicRoads Traffic Noise Reduction Policy 2005. The policy indicates noise barriers are not required as part of Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade.

How have you consulted the community?

Formal public consultation commenced in September 2018 when the proposed reference designs were shared online and a ‘Have your say’ campaign encouraged the community to share their feedback on the design.

Over 500 pieces of feedback was received, including 379 surveys and 170 comments on the interactive project map.

All feedback received was documented and shared with the project team to review and consider as part of the design refinement process.

The consultation led to the following design changes:

  a new U-turn on Porter Street to make access to Templestowe Reserve safer

  retaining the right turn into Hawtin Street from Foote Street

  better pedestrian and cycling connections at the Main Road intersection in Eltham

  improved bus priority at intersections along Fitzsimons Lane

  a dedicated U-turn lane at the Main Road intersection for those wanting to head south on Fitzsimons Lane.

How will construction impacts be managed and minimised?

We’re committed to minimising impacts to the local community and motorists during construction. We’ll work with our contractor to reduce impacts where possible. We’ll also keep you informed and provide advance notice of scheduled disruptions.

Given the number of transport projects underway across Victoria, we’ll maintain a coordinated approach with other projects to minimise disruptions. 

Will construction impact the Eltham Lower Park?

We’ll complete works within the existing road reserve. Whilst there may be some short-term construction impacts, there will be no long-term impact on the Eltham Lower Park including the sporting fields, children's playground, miniature railway and parking. 

We will work with Council and relevant stakeholders to:

  • ensure impacts to sporting grounds are minimised during construction
  • work with Council and clubs to avoid impacting organised local events
  • ensure project information and updates are provided to park users

Will trees be removed as part of the project?

We’re committed to minimising the impact to trees and vegetation. There are several plans and strategies that will guide our approach to protect and minimise the impact to the environment. These include a Landscape Urban Design Strategy, an Environmental Management Strategy and identification of areas of sensitive vegetation which will be protected.   

Options to minimise the removal of trees will be considered. Where vegetation impacts cannot be avoided, we’ll seek opportunities to offset these impacts and plant more trees in the area. 

How will safety be improved?

We’ll install safety barriers in the median and shoulders on approach to the intersections which will improve safety for all road users by reducing the likelihood and severity of crashes.

We’ll also replace roundabouts with traffic lights which will move traffic through the intersections more efficiently and provide breaks in the traffic during red phases.

The improved performance of Fitzsimons Lane will also reduce rat running in local streets. The upgrade will ensure more traffic is moved back to Fitzsimons Lane and improve the movement of local traffic on local roads.

What cycling and walking improvement will be made?

We’ll add a shared user path along Williamsons Road between Porter Street and Foote Street that will connect to the existing shared user path to the north of Porter Street.

Existing footpaths and shared user paths around the Main Road intersection will be upgraded to current standards.

Pedestrian operations signals at the intersections will allow pedestrians safer and easier access to businesses, public transport and local parks and facilities.

How will public transport be prioritised?

We’ll ensure public transport and service reliability remains a priority through the installation of additional bus priority treatments at intersections.

The bus priority treatments will allow buses to bypass queued traffic at the signals. Buses will then be provided with a head start across the intersection.

We’ll also work closely with Public Transport Victoria and bus operators to ensure safe and easy access to bus stops.