Trucks to be banned from local roads

By: Jason Whittaker


Trucks will be banned from residential streets as part of the Victorian Transport Plan announced today by the Brumby Government. Minister

Trucks will be banned from residential streets as part of the Victorian Transport Plan announced today by the Brumby Government.

Minister for Roads and Ports Tim Pallas says the two-stage Truck Action Plan recommended by transport guru Sir Rod Eddington will remove thousands of trucks from Melbourne’s inner west and improve freight access to the Port of Melbourne.

The initiative is intended to be delivered in partnership with the Federal Government, and will include a new link from the West Gate Freeway into the port via Hyde Street.

However, its implementation will hinge on whether Victoria can gain funding from the Rudd Government’s Building Australia Fund, which is to be used to bankroll key road, rail, port and communications project.

Infrastructure Australia, the body responsible for prioritising funding, will determine finance based on whether the proposed projects are nationally significant.

The first stage of the Truck Action Plan will cost $380 million, with Pallas saying the money will finance the new link at Hyde Street to grant greater access along the freeway and Prince Highway and traffic from the Western Ring Road.

Hyde and Whitehall Streets will also be upgraded as part of the plan.

Pallas says the improved Hyde Street connection will reduce the number of trucks on Francis Street and Somerville Road by 5,000 vehicles a day, a 70 percent drop based on current levels.

"The Truck Action Plan recommended in the Eddington report will significantly reduce the number of trucks from the inner-west’s growing suburban streets," Pallas says.

"More than 20,000 trucks move through Melbourne’s inner-west every day, with more than 7,000 of those trucks travelling along Yarraville’s now suburban Francis Street and more than 1,700 along Somerville Road."

The action plan will expand truck curfews already in place at Kensington, Footscray and Flemington.

The second phase will upgrade Sunshine Road, Dempster Street and Paramount Road, which will link to the new road tunnel to be built between Geelong Road and the Port of Melbourne.

"The Truck Action Plan will work in conjunction with the new road tunnel, costing more than $2.8 billion, and running from Geelong Road, West Footscray, to Footscray/Dynon roads in the Port of Melbourne precinct," Pallas says.

The Government will also trial high productivity vehicles in south west Victoria and south-east South Australia.

Pallas says the trial is a joint project between the state and federal governments, and a similar trail will extend to selected metropolitan freeways.

The trial is expected to help the State and the trucking industry cope with the predicted surge in the freight task over the coming decade.

Pallas says the trial has the potential to reduce truck numbers by almost a third and slash emissions and travel costs by up to 22 percent.

The Government will upgrade roads connecting the Port of Portland to support timber movement, with works on major arterials to follow.

"There will also be a trial on limited key metropolitan freeways to link the Port of Melbourne with major industrial areas – the West Gate Freeway to Western Ring Road to Hume Freeway," Pallas says.

However, high productivity vehicles will be restricted to operating outside peak periods and must be fitted with the latest environmental and safety equipment.

Furthermore, the Government has ruled the vehicles must be tracked via GPS to ensure they travel only on approved routes.

The Truck Action Plan is part of Eddington’s $18 billion study that called for immediate action to reduce the impact congestion was having on Melbourne’s transport network.

Without action, Eddington’s report says ports at Melbourne, Geelong, Hastings and Portland will struggle to maintain their supremacy in Australia’s freight operations, in turn jeopardising their $21 billion contribution to the Victorian economy.

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