More works due in Churchill

REGULARS to Churchill’s new commercial area can expect more road works in the area as Latrobe City Council continues its upgrading works.

The planned works are part of the 2007 Churchill Town Centre Plan, according to council’s manager infrastructure development Damian Blackford.

“The next phase of construction involves realignment of Georgina Place within the northern car park,” Mr Blackford said.

However, he said the works could not commence until agreements for land exchanges within the town centre were completed.

“We hope to be in a position to commence these works within the next few months.

“Once the realignment of Georgina Place is complete, the plazas near the town hall and along Georgina Place will follow, as well as reconstruction of Balfour Place.”

With the ongoing works at Philip Parade, Mr Blackford said council hoped to complete works there “as soon as we can get the line marking done.”

“These works are weather dependent, but we hope to have them completed in the next two weeks,” he said, adding the wet weather over the past 18 months had exacerbated delays in the construction schedule.

With reference to a recent letter to the editor criticising the design of the roads near Philip Parade, Mr Blackford said the design was aimed at “reducing speeds and improving pedestrian safety.”

“The focus on slowing traffic through design is more effective than reliance on speed limit enforcement within the town centre,” he said.

“The design of car parks aims at improving pedestrian safety, enhancing the streetscape and providing an increase in aggregate car parking numbers in the centre.”

According to Mr Blackford, works at Philip Parade began in 2008 with the undergrounding of power lines, while the current contract to reconstruct Philip Parade, the eastern end of Georgina Place and the northern end of Marina Drive commenced in October 2010.

While the latter contract is nearly complete, the powering of street lights in Georgina Place and line marking of new streets will mark the end of the project, which Mr Blackford said cost $2.38 million.

Not all Churchill residents, or those who frequented the area to access child care services or the Churchill Neighbourhood House, have been impressed with the project.

Numerous letters to the editor have been received, expressing concerns about the lack of signing, “random carparks” and narrow thoroughfares, with one recent reader calling it a “toy town”.

On The Express’ Facebook page, readers voiced anxiety about the safety of the children and other road users.

Calling the design of the area “unusual and confusing”, Kima Coco questioned why the hub and child care centre were located in an area which saw high traffic from school, the university, shopping centre, buses and delivery trucks.

“We never know when there will be road blocks or works, they do not adequately sign the works when they do, and judging by the road itself, it will remain a hazardous series of intersections even when complete,” the reader said.

“The bi-directional section is too narrow for purpose and confusingly placed.”

Sue Dietrich from Yinnar was critical and said she had witnessed “confusion” as to which way people should go.

Meanwhile, Morwell resident Rosemary Twyerould was more tempered in her view, suggesting road users bypass the area altogether.

“It’s not finished yet so a bit early to judge,” Ms Twyerould said, adding people should drive “to the conditions (of the road)”.