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MELBOURNE councils have lined up to slam the proposed West Gate Tunnel project, warning it will funnel more traffic congestion throughout the city.
The responses to Andrews Government’s major road project warn of traffic flooding inner city streets, arterial roads and freeways including the Tullamarine and Monash.
The environmental effects of the project — which includes widening the West Gate Freeway
and digging a 4km tunnel linking the freeway near Yarraville to the Maribyrnong River — are this week being assessed by a panel appointed by the state government.
In its submission, the City of Port Phillip said the project’s benefits would be short-lived and won’t be the “congestion buster” that was being promised.
“Council believes that induced demand will have a flow on effect to the wider road network as more car trips are made on the surrounding road network,” the council said.
“Adjoining roads such as the Tullamarine Freeway, Monash Freeway, inner city streets and arterial roads in the City of Port Phillip are already congested and the Project will place further stress on these roads and the livability of the surrounding neighbourhoods.”
The proposed new West Gate Tunnel will spill traffic to other major roads, councils have argued.The City of Yarra said the tunnel, which was proposed by proposed by infrastructure giant Transurban, would generate “tens of thousands” more vehicle commutes into inner-Melbourne every day.
“Some of this traffic will be pushed through North Melbourne and Parkville and into the City of Yarra,” the council said.
“This traffic will worsen local traffic conditions in the City of Yarra, particularly along arterials such as Victoria Parade and Alexandra Parade which are already at capacity.”
Scores of residents complained about increased congestion in the inner-west, including on Dynon Rd which will have a direct connection to the new toll road.
In its submission, Moreland City Council said the government’s Environmental Effects Statement failed to take into the account all the traffic which would spill onto the local road network.
“The modelling does not appear to provide any detailed analysis on local road impact north east of Dynon Road,” the council said.
Hobsons Bay City Council said it did not oppose the project but it created a “high risk” of traffic impact including new traffic tolls causing trucks to use local roads.
The RACV said the West Gate Tunnel was a crucial project but it should include a direct connection between the elevated road along Footscray Road and Bolte Bridge.
A submission by Yarra Trams warned about more traffic encroaching on tram tracks, resulting in increased crashes.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the toll road would reduce traffic on Spencer and King Streets in the city, and take 9000 trucks off local streets in the inner west.
“We’re getting on with building the West Gate Tunnel because drivers in the west and Geelong desperately need an alternative to the West Gate Bridge,” he said.
“The EES shows that the Tunnel will slash congestion from Geelong to Pakenham and throughout the road network, taking 28,000 vehicles off the Westgate Bridge and 22,000 off the Bolte.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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