Council has started designing traffic lights for the intersection of Bristol Road and Surf Coast Highway in Torquay.
Recently we contacted directly affected residents, as well as the wider community, with an opportunity to provide feedback.
Below is a summary of community feedback along with responses to some frequently asked questions.
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback - we received a number of diverse views.
These ranged from support for the improved safety, traffic movement and efficiency that traffic lights will bring, to concerns about the increased number of traffic lights in Torquay. Some people also suggested that a roundabout would be more suitable. Please see below our responses to these queries.
There were also some specific concerns raised by nearby residents and businesses, which broadly relate to individual access issues. We will follow these up issues directly with the affected property owners.
Why traffic lights?
Traffic on the Surf Coast Highway and Bristol Road is projected to increase so that traffic lights will be required to maintain safe and efficient access into and out of Torquay town centre into the future. Without signalising this intersection, traffic attempting to enter and exit Bristol Road will eventually be subjected to significant delays, resulting in poor flow and safety outcomes at this key intersection.
The benefits of traffic lights at this intersection include:
- Improved safety and access for vehicles getting onto the highway to travel north and south. This is by providing dedicated right and left-turn lanes as traffic volumes continue to grow and gaps on the highway become increasingly difficult to access.
- Improved flow between traffic lights on the Surf Coast Highway. When a number of traffic lights are installed close together, there is an opportunity to link adjacent traffic lights so that the green time is co-ordinated.
- Improved pedestrian and cyclist safety and support for active travel modes.
- Improved safety on adjacent residential streets. A failure to provide safe and appropriate right-turn access out of the town centre will have safety impacts on the residential street between Bell Street and Beach Road, with growing traffic volumes diverting onto these streets to right-turn onto the highway.
- Improved connection between Torquay’s two major commercial centres, Surf World precinct and Gilbert Street precinct.
- Supports necessary public transport movements.
Can a roundabout be built instead of traffic lights?
A roundabout option is not considered viable as it would have significant additional cost and land acquisition required to deliver adequate flow.
A safe roundabout with an adequate flow would need to comprise an area of similar size to the recently installed roundabout on South Beach Road and Surf Coast Highway. In a tight town-centre location this would mean compulsory acquisition of residential, community and commercial properties at this location. A small scale roundabout would not maintain flow of traffic and would result in significant queues on all legs.
We will work with nearby property owners to address individual access issues that have been raised. Minor alterations to the preliminary design plans may be considered as part of these discussions.
The following step in the project will be to develop detailed designs in conjunction with the Department of Transport. We anticipate these plans will be available for viewing in early to mid 2022.
Works to install the traffic lights are not expected to be undertaken until at least 2023.