The upgrade of the Balaclava Road / Hawdon Street / New Dookie Road / Verney Road intersection was identified as part of the Shepparton Alternative Route Freight Enhancement Package. The intersection must be upgraded from a roundabout to a signalised intersection to reduce congestion and improve safety, particularly during peak demand periods.
As part of the preparation of construction drawings for the upgrade of the intersection, it became apparent that the operation of the existing Balaclava Road School Bus Interchange to the west of the intersection (between Bourchier Street and Verney Road) would result in significant issues during both the construction and operation of the upgraded signalised intersection.
It was found that the following bus movements will be significantly impacted upon:
- Buses that need to re-enter Balaclava Road traffic and turn right at the intersection to travel south down along Hawdon Street; and
- Buses that undertake a U-turn at the existing roundabout to travel west along Balaclava Road.
In light of the above, it was considered desirable to relocate the existing Balaclava Road School Bus Interchange before works commence on the upgrading of the intersection, to minimise any disruptions to the construction works and to the continued operation of the School Bus Interchange.
Council officers undertook an initial investigation in November and December 2017, and examined the relocation of the School Bus Interchange along the northern side of Nixon Street between Harold and Skene Streets, abutting the southern side of Deakin Reserve, adjacent to the existing interchange along the western side of Skene Street abutting the eastern side of Deakin Reserve. There is 24 all-day car parking spaces and one existing bus stop within the investigation area.
Following the initial investigation conducted by Council officers, it was concluded that a school bus interchange at this location could cater for seven interchange bus bays and one bus stop.
Council officers prepared a Draft Nixon Street School Bus Interchange Concept Plan February 2018. Vehicles would be permitted to park in the interchange bays on weekdays, outside of school bus drop-off and pick-up times, and on weekends all day.
To offset the loss of the 24 car parking spaces along Nixon Street, 38 centre-of-the-road car parking spaces were proposed to be provided along Skene Street between Nixon and Fryers Streets. The Draft Skene Street Centre-of-the-Road Car Parking Concept Plan February 2018 also identified 11 new street trees and replanting of the existing street trees along this section of Skene Street.
Council Resolution February 2018
At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 20 February 2018, Council resolved to endorse the Draft Nixon Street School Bus Interchange Concept Plan February 2018 and the Draft Skene Street Centre-of-the-Road Car Parking Concept Plan February 2018 (Draft Concept Plans), and to release the Draft Plans for public comment for a period of four weeks, commencing on 26 February 2018 and concluding on 26 March 2018.
The Draft Concept Plans were exhibited from 26 February 2018 to 26 March 2018, two written submissions and one verbal submission were received.
Council officers also consulted with schools in the area and the Department of Education and Training in relation to the supervision of the relocated school bus interchange.
However, in the absence of any supervision of the proposed relocated school bus interchange on Nixon Street, it was considered that the Nixon Street location would not be fit-for-purpose and could no longer be pursued.
As Nixon Street was no longer considered an appropriate location for the relocated School Bus Interchange, Council officers, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Training, have considered an interim solution for the relocation of the School Bus Interchange to the front of Shepparton High School at 71-73 Hawdon Street, Shepparton.
This will require six bus stops along the existing kerb, pedestrian fencing and five shelters, which would be indented into the school property.
Council Resolution September 2018
At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 18 September 2018, Council resolved to note that the proposal to relocate the Balaclava Road School Bus Interchange to Nixon Street, Shepparton would no longer proceed and endorsed the Interim Hawdon Street School Bus Interchange Concept Plan September 2018 for the construction of the interim school bus interchange to the front of the Shepparton High School and the Skene Street Centre-of-the-Road Car Parking Concept Plan September 2018.
The cost of the interim relocation of the Bus Interchange is estimated to be $250,000 and the construction of centre-of-the-road car parking along Skene Street is estimated to be $365,000. A budget allocation for these projects is included in the 2018/2019 Council budget.