Dig­ging in for chaos

‘12-14 hours a day of peak traf­fic’

Herald Sun - - NEWS - IAN ROYALL ian.royall@news.com.au @IanRoy­all

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.

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