Residents angry over “shoddy” roundabout works

Brendan Rees

East Melbourne residents have expressed disappointment and frustration over what they describe as “shoddy” works to upgrade a prominent roundabout in the area.

The roundabout at the intersection of Hotham and Simpson streets is being upgraded after $420,000 was provided in funding as part of the federal government’s road safety Black Spot Program. 

When complete, the project will deliver raised zebra pedestrian crossings, kerb extensions and flat-top road humps to reduce vehicle speeds.

But residents have highlighted several issues since work began in May including “sloppy line markings”, historic bluestone not being reinstated, and an “over supply” of road signs, with up to 22 signs (not including speed signs) not being collected, while fencing to a nearby property had been damaged. 

“We as residents of East Melbourne, along with visitors to the area, expect high standards of roadworks in such an exceptional, historic suburb,” one resident said, requesting anonymity.

“A lot of historic bluestone was dug up during the works and hopefully are stored somewhere for the improvement of paving and gutters we are hoping for.”

“The amount of signs really looks terrible, and detracts from the heritage and aesthetic feel of the area, and I think would leave a bad precedent going forward for future similar roundabout upgrades in East Melbourne.”

In response, the City of Melbourne confirmed works had been completed mid-July, except for a bluestone channel on the south-east corner, which would be upgraded in the first week of August, while a “redundant sign” would be removed.

Speaking on behalf of the East Melbourne Group, vice-president Jenny Owen said while the safety upgrade was welcomed, the quality of the project was a letdown and not a good look for the area.

“It’s shoddy workmanship, we want it completed to a satisfactory level,” she said.

“We are waiting for them (council) to do something about the oversupply of street signs, the aesthetics of the bluestones to fit with 19th-century properties, and the damage to a nearby fence as well.” 

“We are hopeful the upgrades are going to slow the traffic down and avoid any further accidents and injuries to people.”

Residents said East Melbourne was well respected for its historic streetscape but the recent roadworks in question “have to a large extent neglected this”.  •

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