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How Road Zones Will Affect Your Development

Updated: Feb 4


Ever Wondered Why The Roads In The MelWay Are Different Colours? We will try to debug this and other road-related matters in this article.


There are two distinct road types that you need to consider before any proposed development or construction works begin on your particular project. The road type you are working adjacent to will greatly affect how the project is designed and the steps you need to take for approval.

Effectively, there are those roads that are located within a Road Zone under the Planning Scheme (major roads) and those that are not (minor roads)


These road zones are shown in the Melway, with each road colour generally coded for your convenience. 

A snapshot of the Melway featuring most of the different road colours is provided below, which is of the area surrounding the Quantum Traffic office.

Arterial Roads (Road Zones)


Arterial roads are managed by the Department of Transport or DOT (formerly VicRoads) and there are additional design requirements as well as an extra level of approval to obtain for developments/vehicle access to major roads.


Typically in the MelWays’, they are black (Primary Arterials) or red roads (Secondary Arterials). Major Roads also include Freeways (shown as green) and Tollways (shown as blue), however, you would typically not take vehicle access from these type roads in most cases.


Arterial Roads are characterised by high traffic volumes with a priority on vehicle movements/efficiency rather than property access while providing significant transport connections to the broader road network. Think of those ‘Arterial’ roads you use to get to/from work or as part of other trips (Hoddle Street, Geelong Road, Springvale Road, etc).


Developments on arterial roads need to be approved by Department of Transport (VicRoads). As a referral authority, if you do not get approval, Council are required to refuse the planning application regardless on the overall merits of the application.


Some key requirements include vehicles being able to enter/exit the site in a forward direction as well as the vehicle accessway being able to facilitate simultaneous entry/exit movements. These may seem like very minor requirements, however, they certainly make a significant difference to the design of your development. 


Local Roads (i.e. not within a Road Zone)


These are roads that are managed by the local council, under 3 different categories.


Higher-order local roads (Council Major Roads) are shown in orange in the Melways’ and are considered local 'main roads'. 


Collector Roads are shown in grey in the Melways’ and are broadly considered local roads, which serve as a connection from the lowest order local roads to higher-order arterial roads.


Local Streets, shown in brown on the Melway, with the main purpose of facilitating property access and are typically designed to accommodate low traffic volumes.


In order to start your development on one of these roads, you'll have to deal with the relevant council.

How Will Road Zones Affect Your Project?



The obvious first step is determining who you will have to deal with depending on which type of road your development abuts and the different process required to obtain a Planning Permit.


When dealing with arterial roads, there can be significant negotiations required with the Department of Transport. You will have to provide adequate justification to the DOT that you will be able to adhere to their typical requirements and guidelines which are focused on minimising traffic disruption.


As traffic engineers, we deal with negotiations for planning applications, which abut arterial roads and are experienced in ensuring the best outcome for both you and your development. If you are at any stage of submitting a planning application/any other project adjacent to an arterial road, get in contact with us and let's get it started!

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