Digging in for chaos
‘12-14 hours a day of peak traffic’
THE West Gate Tunnel Project will create peak-hour traffic in North Melbourne streets for up to 14 hours every day, a damning City of Melbourne report has said.
The council’s response to the state government’s major road project also condemns the loss of almost 750 trees and the damage to the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor, which the council planned to regenerate as open space.
The $5.5 billion project aims to build more lanes on the West Gate Freeway and dig a 4km tunnel linking the freeway near Yarraville to the Maribyrnong River. The tunnel will link to a bridge over the river and connect to Footscray Rd. Construction is due to begin in 2022.
The report, prepared by council officers and to be voted on by councillors on Tuesday, says that it supports improved access to the west, reduced truck traffic on residential streets and less congestion.
“However, we do not consider that the WGTP design will meet these objectives. It will lead to significant impacts which cannot be appropriately managed,’’ the report said.
The Dynon Rd connection will feed traffic directly into the local road network in North Melbourne, clogging suburban streets and slowing tram services from the CBD to the north and west.
The report said that four streets — Gatehouse, Arden, Queensberry and Victoria — will be jammed with traffic for between 12 and 14 hours every day. The project infrastructure will also compromise plans to develop new neighbourhoods.
The elevated Footscray Rd tollway is also criticised as creating “a significant barrier for its 100-year life” and undermining any potential development of land within 5km of the city centre.
Project works would lead to the digging up of 744 trees.
City of Melbourne transport chairman Nic Frances Gilley said the tollway goes against years of policy.
“This money could be better spent on Melbourne Metro 2, connecting train services in Werribee to Fishermans Bend, Southern Cross and Parkville,” Cr Frances Gilley said.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan’s office was invited to comment.