Residents fear patch-up road project

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State Government funding alone would be a “Band-Aid solution” to traffic congestion on Thompsons Road, according to regular road users.

Cardinia Shire and the City of Casey have been lobbying for $190 million in federal funding to speed up the process of duplicating Thompsons Road.

Residents have expressed their “uncertainty” about the feasibility of the State Government’s $154.5 million budget commitment because the project is yet to receive formal federal support.

The state funds will pay for the duplication between Dandenong-Frankston Road and Evans Road and also between Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road and Berwick-Cranbourne Road.

It will also fund the replacement of the roundabout at the Western Port Highway intersection with traffic lights.

Frustrated motorists told the News that the bottlenecks at Western Port Highway roundabout and between Marriot Boulevard and South Gippsland Highway were the key problem areas.

Cranbourne North resident Tallara Constantine has been using Thompsons Road for most of her life.

She allows herself more than two hours to travel to work in Melbourne’s CBD.

“The general consensus in the community is to avoid Thompsons Road at all costs. If I don’t need to use it, I don’t,” Ms Constantine said.

“It’s just not worth the effort. I’m not going to waste money on petrol to crawl at a snail’s pace, not getting anywhere in a hurry.

“It used to be the case that peak hour traffic would be between 3.30pm and 7.30pm but now it doesn’t matter what time or what day – there’s traffic congestion both ways.”

Ms Constantine often travels to Carrum Downs to visit her parents or to take her kids to swimming lessons.

On average, about 26,000 vehicles use Thompsons Road between EastLink in Carrum Downs and Berwick-Cranbourne Road in Clyde North every day, according to VicRoads.

“I’m often travelling from one end of Thompsons Road to the other,” she said.

“My parents live about 15 kilometres away and on a bad run, it takes 30 minutes to get there.”

The Cranbourne North resident said that while she was happy that the congestion problems were being addressed, she was concerned about the project’s feasibility.

“I don’t know how they’re going to duplicate the road. Around the areas where Thompsons Road goes to one lane, there’s a petrol station, RSPCA and a residential area, as well as a golf course up the road,” she said.

“The Cranbourne area is expanding too fast – there’s rapid growth but no infrastructure to support it.

“I think it’s a case of too little too late for the amount of disruptions that are going to happen during roadworks.

“I know politicians will focus on the long-term benefits but that will all depend on whether they knuckle down and get it done in 18 months or if it’s going to be delayed and potentially take years to finish.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment.”

Clyde resident Ben Robert’s home is a five-minute drive from Thompsons Road. He uses the thoroughfare every day to drive to work and drop his children off at school.

“It’s a bit of a nightmare. The kids are late to school some days because of the traffic being so bad,” he said.

“Obviously I’m concerned about the roadworks. There’s going to be more traffic and it gets pretty banked up already.

“We’re going to have to get the kids up even earlier to try to get to school on time.

“If the State Government’s going to widen the road, it will help but I don’t think it’s going to solve the entire issue because it’s a fast-growing area. It’s a Band-Aid solution.

“Federal funding would provide more certainty.”

Residents have been invited to have their own say by filing a submission to the Fund Our Future campaign at http://www.fundourfuture.info/act-now.

Originally published at Cranbourne News.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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