Residents of one suburb in Melbourne’s west are spending up to an hour in traffic to travel less than a kilometre each morning, with planning experts likening it to a “prison”.
There is just one entrance and exit to Kalkallo, a suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne’s west made up of two different housing estates, which is home to 6000 residents with plans for up to 30,000.
According to residents, the congestion chaos causes tardiness to school, work and appointments.
Traffic chaos in Melbourne suburb, Kalkallo. (A Current Affair)
“It’s just a nightmare, to be honest,” mother of three Carly Newsome told A Current Affair.
“The kids, when they catch the bus to school, it can take them up to two hours, which is a joke. They’re constantly late every day.”
Alternative exits for the estate are anticipated in the next two to three years, according to the Hume City Council, but locals have said it’s not soon enough.
Mother of three Carly Newsome. (A Current Affair)Kalkallo is a suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne’s west. (A Current Affair)
“There are concerns if there’s a fire in the estate at some stage, particularly for those living at the back. We’re like sitting ducks out there,” new parent Rusy Gallardo said.
“And people can’t get out — there’s nothing in here. We don’t have a supermarket, so everyone has to leave to get anything.”
While the Victorian State Government told A Current Affair it is “currently considering options to improve traffic flow in this area, working with local stakeholders,” planning experts have said more needs to be done during design stages to prevent situations like this.
Professor Michael Buxton from RMIT University. (A Current Affair)
“The government, by allowing this design, is condemning people to live in areas that resemble a prison,” Professor Michael Buxton from RMIT University said.
“Australian outer suburbs are probably the worst designed in the world and we’re locating huge numbers of people in them.
“A million-and-a-half more people are going to be living in these suburbs in the next 25, 30 years, so we’re condemning huge numbers of new Melbourne residents to live in areas that are very unliveable.”
Statement by Hume City Council – Mayor Councillor Carly Moore:
Hume is one of Australia’s fastest-growing and diverse communities. Home to an estimated 250,000 residents in 2022, our population is expected to grow to more than 394,000 by 2041.
We know that people move to new areas such as Cloverton to create better lives for themselves and their family, but this dream is being impeded by issues such as traffic congestion.
For the last decade, Council has advocated to the Victorian Government to have increased infrastructure spend in our growth areas to ensure infrastructure is delivered in step with development and even limit development if required until key infrastructure, such as roads, have been built.
Council understands that plans are being advanced by Department of Transport and Stockland to provide for an upgrade to the roundabout to improve the flow of traffic along Donnybrook Road and reduce delay in accessing the Hume Freeway. This upgrade and the future much-needed duplication of Donnybrook Road is subject to Victorian Government funding.
Council is working closely with Stockland to secure other road upgrade projects to address the congestion. These are subject to approval and/or funding.
These projects include the Cloverton Boulevard extension to Donnybrook Road and the Gunns Gully Road interchange on the Hume Freeway – both of which will provide an alternative exit and entry point to the estate. They are expected to be delivered in the next two to three years.
Statement by a Victoria State Government spokesperson:
“We are constantly exploring how we can make our roads even safer and create smoother journeys for all motorists – including along Donnybrook Road.
“We’re currently considering options to improve traffic flow in this area, working with local stakeholders.”
Statement by a Stockland spokesperson:
“We are mindful of the traffic congestion residents are experiencing during peak periods along Donnybrook Road.
“This is a regional issue and Stockland is working closely with Council and relevant state agencies to progress a number of traffic solutions as soon as possible including a secondary access point to the community via a bridge onto Donnybrook Road.
“We are also working with the Department of Transport on a dedicated left-turn lane onto the Hume Freeway at the Mitchell Street roundabout, as well as exploring some other temporary measures for addressing traffic congestion in the shorter term.
“We understand the importance of key road infrastructure in meeting the growing needs of the community and are committed to working proactively and constructively with the authorities to ensure this issue is addressed.”
How pets and livestock managed to survive the flood crisis against all odds