A MAJOR re-design of a West Wodonga intersection with the Hume Freeway is about to start.
Two turning lanes are being constructed in the freeway median strip either side of the existing crossing between McKoy Street and Old Barnawartha Road.
The existing crossing will be eliminated as part of roadworks beginning on Monday and taking about three months to complete.
Construction of a petrol station at the corner of McKoy Street and Plunketts Road has prompted the re-design of the freeway intersection.
All traffic from McKoy Street and Old Barnawartha Road will have left turns only to the freeway for the duration of the works being carried out by Excell Gray Bruni.
Once complete vehicles will be forced to travel south or north beyond the intersection to complete a U-turn back if they want to cross the freeway.
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley condemned the changes.
“This looks like a Band-Aid solution, just without the Band-Aid,” he said.
“This design will see parents ferrying kids to school, people going to work and trucks having to get across two lanes of freeway traffic in the space of 80m.
“It’s a recipe for disaster.”
VicRoads regional director Nicki Kyriakou defended the intersection design.
“These changes to the intersection will make the intersection safer and help to prevent serious crashes,” she said.
“We’re working with the (service station) developer with the aim of minimising disruption during construction.”
The stretch of the freeway was a notorious blackspot and prompted a speed reduction from 110km/h to 80km/h between 7am and 7pm three years ago.
The existing speed restrictions will stay in place once the upgrade is completed.
Mr Tilley also took aim at the level of community consultation carried out by the roads authority.
“The idea was floated in a newspaper story late last year, but businesses in the area were only told on Tuesday that work will start on Monday,” he said.
“They are outraged, I’ve talked to just four businesses who have up to 160 truck movements at that intersection every day.
“Public consultation is not a few lines in a story in The Border Mail.”
Another more expensive option considered was a freeway flyover connecting McKoy Street and Old Barnawartha Road.
During construction there will be lane closures on both the northbound and southbound carriageways of the freeway.
Works will take place between 7am and 5pm from Monday and traffic management will be in place throughout the duration of the works