Patience urged for CBD works

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Residents were still adjusting to traffic controls in Margaret River’s town centre this week.
Camera IconResidents were still adjusting to traffic controls in Margaret River’s town centre this week.

Margaret River business owners have pleaded with residents to keep shopping in town despite roadworks, which started this week for the highway redevelopment.

Traders, residents and motorists were warned the next year would create significant disruption as Margaret River’s main drag undergoes an overhaul to improve pedestrian and cycling access, create more alfresco space, calm traffic and inject more vitality into public spaces.

Coinciding with the start of the school year, many motorists were caught off-guard by traffic changes widely advertised by the Shire online and in the Times.

Shire project manager Peter Brown said the CBD remained accessible and residents could use parking behind stores, off the main street.

“Supporting our local businesses, who are owned and run by members of our community, throughout this process is really important,” Mr Brown said. “So far, traffic diversions have been working fairly well, with tweaks being made where necessary.

“Whilst drivers are adhering to the 40km/h limit, we ask that people follow detour signage in place and directions from traffic management personnel at all times.”

The Shire was supporting businesses with a campaign to let visitors know the town was still open for business.

Campaign banners and information signs would be erected in coming weeks, with more information on mainstreetmakeover.com.au.

“Although there are disruptions, we ask for everyone’s continued patience,” Mr Brown said. “Once complete, our main street will be a vastly improved space for the community to enjoy.”

Margaret River police said no fines were handed out to motorists this week, and officers would give residents time to adjust.

“People will start getting used to it, especially the locals,” Sgt Luke Fowler said. “We’ll see how it goes in a couple of weeks.”

Police remained in contact with the Shire and traffic managers. On social media, residents on streets used as detours this week asked motorists to slow down.

Numerous illegal U-turns were made as drivers entered town unaware of traffic diversions, despite signs and traffic controllers.

Other residents praised traffic lights at the Willmott Street intersection and hoped they would not become a permanent fixture. Businesses canvassed by the Times said they had a quiet week and hoped shoppers were not deterred, but it was too early to know the effect on trade.

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