SWEEPING engineering changes to streets crossing Wodonga’s old rail corridor will provide faster and greater access to the city from next month, the city council says.
It was also expected to almost halve the traffic in High Street by 2020.
A T-intersection between Watson and South streets has become one road, a sweeping bend across the former railway land now merging the two thoroughfares.
A roundabout would provide a turn-off into South Street for those travelling west of Dick Street.
Bitumen has been laid on the extension of nearby Smythe Street that also cuts across the former rail corridor.
The Watson Street extension is expected to be sealed in the next week.
Wodonga Council’s planning and infrastructure director Leon Schultz said the realignment was a result of engineering and traffic forecasts that suggested most traffic would use the road to bypass the main street.
The council estimates 7800 cars a day will use what it is calling an internal bypass by 2020, the number of vehicles in High Street falling from 15,000 to 8600 at the same time.
“Importantly this is the first north-south connections for what was previously an isolated part of inner Wodonga,” he said.
It will provide direct access to the CBD and offer some relief to the traffic on High Street
“But what the construction of this road also does is give confidence not only to the residents of the city but also potential developers.
“These works have been planned for a long, long time — it opens up land for development, it puts traffic past it and showcases the land that Places Victoria has for sale in the heart of the city.”
The $1.4 million project will affect traffic flows but changes could only be tested once the roads were open.
“There is still landscaping to do and some formal procedures, road safety audits, to go through before we can officially open the road to the public.
“But the contractors and our project managers are confident of opening by mid-March.
“There may be the need for timing modifications on the traffic lights at the South and High streets intersection but we will only know once we are able to assess real traffic counts and the behavioural change for those people who will use this road.”