Council implemented a number of temporary road closures between the Quay and QUAY2 developments on 13 July 2020. This webpage provides a background to that decision, relevant traffic information, the planned approach to progressively re-open the local roads and will include updates as new information becomes available.
Why did Council implement the road closures?
The changes were introduced by Council to support the release of land in the QUAY2 estate prior to the completion of key infrastructure connecting the estate to the Surf Coast Highway. The closures were designed to avoid unplanned and undesirable traffic impacts on local roads to the east and south of the QUAY2 development.
Rosser Boulevard and Merrijig Drive, as collector roads, are considered the most suitable roads to support access into the QUAY2 estate while construction traffic volumes are high and while Rosser Boulevard/ Surf Coast Highway intersection planning and construction works are underway.
The developer of QUAY2 will construct traffic signals to connect Rosser Boulevard with the Surf Coast Highway and Coombes Road. This intersection is planned to take more than half of all traffic moving in, out and through QUAY2. The intersection is expected to be ready in mid-2021.
What information did Council consider?
Council considered three main sources of information:
The 2012 study that informed the planning of the development and road network;
Feedback and requests from multiple stakeholders; and
Data about QUAY2 development rates, particularly housing construction.
The 2012 study indicated that when fully developed, about 11,600 vehicles per day (vpd) will move in, out and through the development, of which 6,800 vpd (almost 60%) would come and go via Rosser Boulevard at the new intersection with the highway.
Council was also approached over time by multiple stakeholders with varying views, including:
People who were buying into QUAY2 in 2020 and who were distressed by any potential delays to the release of titles
The QUAY2 developer who was seeking to promptly progress their development
Local members of parliament, on behalf of the QUAY2 developers and purchasers, seeking Council’s prompt release of QUAY2 titles
Community members, mainly from the Quay development, making submission to the 2020-21 budget process and expressing concern about local roads being impacted by the QUAY2 development
Petitioners and residents who had contacted Council over the previous 18-24 months raising concerns about the QUAY2 traffic impacts on local roads
Analysis of Council’s spatial data as at 6 April 2020 identified the following with respect to this development:
452 residential lots had been created through previous stages
357 building permits for dwellings had been issued (ie. 79% of lots created had permits)
254 properties had occupancy certificates, (ie. 56% of lots created were occupied or ready for occupancy)
The QUAY2 developer advised that most properties achieve occupancy in about eight months from building permit and approvals. Based on Council development data and advice from the developer, it was assumed that the balance of building permits may reach occupancy by the end of 2020, representing 64% or approximately two-thirds of the total planned development. Without the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions, it was estimated that significant volumes of traffic would move in, out or through QUAY2 by the end of 2020 without the benefit of the Rosser Boulevard connection to the highway.
What are the traffic volumes in the area?
Council committed to review the closures once traffic adjusted to the new conditions. Traffic counters have measured traffic volumes and types in August/September along Merrijig Drive and the streets connecting to QUAY2. This provides a greater understanding about the traffic currently coming and going from the QUAY2 development, what volume are moving along Merrijig Drive and provides a basis for ongoing monitoring.
A summary of the recent traffic volumes is included in the following table along with data collected in October 2019 and June 2020 Data from similar locations is included for reference. Not all locations were measured at the same time and so some volumes are estimated to assist with general understanding of what is happening across the network.
|Roads that provide access in/out of QUAY2||October 2019 (or before)||June 2020||Aug/Sep 2020|
|Marine Drive||490||743||(road closed)|
|Centreside Drive||653||784||(road closed)|
|Total estimated volumes of traffic moving in, out or through QUAY2 on connecting streets||2,298||3,730||3,189|
*This is an estimated volume based on assumed traffic generation per lot developed (taken from comparison of aerial imagery).
|Merrijig Drive||October 2019 (or before)||June 2020||September 2020|
|Merrijig Drive (west end)||9,572||Not Available||7,554|
|Merrijig Drive||6,541||Not Available||6,640|
A number of factors will influence the above data, including:
Impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. It appears that restrictions are resulting in traffic reductions in the order of 30-35% which is consistent with advice from Regional Roads Victoria. This particularly effects Merrijig Drive as a key collector rout which will have lower volumes due to remote-working, home-schooling and closure of community facilities.
Varying stages of development of QUAY2 will have resulted in increasing volumes of construction, building and residential traffic over the periods.
Different configurations of roads being open and closed will result in different travel paths.
The latest counts are the only ones that measure traffic where QUAY2 is the origin or destination of a trip. Other counts will include some traffic that is just passing through the estate. Therefore the volumes in the table provides is helpful in providing an understanding of volumes, but is not a basis for definitive comparisons.
How is the local road network performing?
The recent traffic counts show that about 3,189 vpd are on the access roads entering and leaving QUAY2. Volumes on Merrijig Drive are significantly lower in September 2020 than usual, even with the QUAY2 traffic, which is likely to be the result of a combination of COVID-19 restrictions and slower development. Regional Roads Victoria have indicated that a reduction in traffic volume of 30%-40% is not unexpected at this time.
Merrijig Drive, particular west of Rosser Boulevard, and Rosser Boulevard seem to be managing the traffic increases well as these are both collector roads which are designed to take higher traffic volumes. The most heavily impacted streets are the three smaller streets being Scott and Hunter Avenues and presumably McLean Street. These have all had significant increases in traffic volumes.
When will Council re-open the roads?
Having considered the traffic data and feedback from residents and emergency services, Council proposes the following approach to refining, and in time removing, the road closures.
Step 1: Removal of road closure on Centreside Drive
It is proposed that this barrier be removed during the week commencing Monday 19 October 2020. Re-opening Centreside Drive will allow re-distribution of traffic from the north-east part of QUAY2 across Hunter, Scott and Centreside but is unlikely to be an attractive route for much of the QUAY2 estate that can be serviced by more direct routes through Rosser Boulevard and Merrijig Drive.
Step 2: Removal of road closure on Inshore Drive
It is proposed that Inshore Drive will be opened when 50% of residences within Stages 14, 15 and 16 of the QUAY2 development are constructed. These stages of the development are those that are most likely to access the south via Inshore Drive. Waiting until this area is well-established will avoid high volumes of construction traffic from using the local roads while the construction of new residences gets underway in these stages.
Step 3: Removal of road closures on Marine and Glengarry Drives
It is proposed that these two streets will be opened when 75% of residences within Stages 14, 15 and 16 of the QUAY2 development are constructed. At this point of development there would be expected to be significantly less construction traffic within the estate as a whole, as these are the final stages of the primary QUAY2 development. This will reduce the impact of this traffic on the areas of concern around the “pirate park” as well as streets to the south of the estate through Glengarry Drive.
If the traffic signals at the intersection of the Surf Coast Highway, Rosser Boulevard and Coombes Road is completed before steps 2 or 3 triggers are reached, the barriers will be removed.
We understand that the proposed progressive re-opening of the road network will not satisfy all residents, but we believe that this is a logical and appropriate approach.