THE City of Ballarat has welcomed the unveiling by the State Government of the $7 million Mair Street upgrade designs.

The works will include major intersection upgrades, along with changes to on-street parking, traffic light location, the positioning of trees and bike lanes and investigations to remove overhead power lines.

Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the upgrade would help ease heavy traffic congestion in Mair Street and also improve traffic safety in the precinct.

“This State Government investment will help fix the Mair Street bottleneck, which has been a major traffic issue for several years now,” Cr McIntosh said.

“This announcement is also very welcome to help prevent any more accidents in this area, with 46 people injured in 34 serious or minor car accidents since December 2012.

“We will now work closely with VicRoads and Mair Street traders to identify further car parking opportunities in the precinct to ensure there is as little impact as possible on businesses and their customers.

“We will also have representatives on the Project Monitoring Group to make sure we minimise the impact on businesses during construction.” Community input has been integral in the designs for the upgrade, following more than two years of consultation.

The upgrade will ease congestion between Dawson and Armstrong Streets, and Davies and Humffray Streets, making it easier for people to move in and around the CBD, with a new driving lane to be built in each direction.

There’ll be major upgrades to intersections at Doveton, Armstrong, Peel and Humffray Streets with new turning lanes, line marking and better traffic light flow, and new traffic lights at the Dawson/ Mair Street intersection.

Works will also make the CBD safer for cyclists and pedestrians with safer cycling lanes with buffer zones to reduce the risk of “doorings”.

While the upgrade will see the relocation of 69 on-street parking spaces, VicRoads will create 20 new off-street parking spaces at the Grenville Street intersection.

VicRoads continues to work with traders and the City of Ballarat to identify further opportunities to help relocate the remaining on-street parking spaces in the Mair Street precinct.

An average of 15,000 vehicles currently use Mair Street each day with that number projected to triple to 45,000 vehicles in line with Ballarat’s projected growth towards 200,000 residents by 2040.

Construction of Stage One will start in autumn with the Dawson Street to Armstrong Street section. This will be followed by the Davies Street to Humffray Street section in Spring.

Construction is scheduled to be complete before Christmas to minimise the impact on traders.

A Project Monitoring Group comprising of VicRoads, City of Ballarat, and trader representatives has been established to work together to minimise the impact on businesses during construction.

People can view the designs at vicroads.vic.gov.au or in the VicRoads foyer at 88 Learmonth Road, Wendouree.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said, “We’re investing in Ballarat – whether it’s through this vital $7 million upgrade or our investment in Eureka Stadium – we’re getting it done.” “While some people want to play politics with this project, this is about safety – there have been far too many crashes and too many injuries on Mair Street so we’re fixing it to keep people safe.”