By Laura Michell
A Mernda road could be closed to through traffic in a bid to keep motorists and residents safe.
Whittlesea council is considering closing the unsealed Masons Road in response to lobbying from residents who fear the road has become too dangerous and are worried about the amount of dust being spread into their homes and water tanks.
The road has become a ‘rat run’ in recent years for motorists trying to bypass Bridge Inn Road. It is used by up to 850 cars daily.
The council has been grading the road more frequently but it is proving unable to withstand the high volume of daily traffic.
Mayor Lawrie Cox said the road was never designed to take the level of traffic it currently does.
“Masons Road was originally built as a gravel road to provide local farm access to residents in the area,” he said.
Cr Cox said the council had explored a variety of options for the road, including constructing it to a standard required for the level of traffic. However, sealing the road is expected to cost up to $12 million.
He said another option is to pass the cost of sealing the road onto property owners abutting the road through a special charge scheme, which would be “cost prohibitive”.
Cr Cox said the council would also lobby the state and federal governments for funds to seal the road.
Masons Road resident Tina Marshall said she was unsure sealing the road would solve the problems.
However, she is also concerned about the risks of closing the road because of bushfires.
“We are not only impacted by the speed of the traffic but the noise and dust … it’s the bane of our lives at the moment,” she said.
“If they sealed the road, they would need to put some measures in place to slow people down.”