Victoria confirms new route for trucks

VTA backs the Victorian Government's preferred route to take trucks off local roads

By Rob McKay | July 12, 2010

The Victorian Transport Association welcomed the State Government’s continued push for the WestLink tunnel and the Truck Action Plan (TAP) and reiterated its call for a second crossing over the Yarra River.

The State Government confirmed its preferred route past Yarraville to the Port of Melbourne and a three-option shortlist for the WestLink tunnel today.

Under the $380 million TAP, the Government intends to build new on and off ramps to provide access between Hyde Street and the West Gate Freeway. It will upgrade Whitehall, Moreland and Hyde streets and widen and strengthen Shepherd Bridge.

"The TAP will reduce the number of trucks using Francis Street and Somerville Road by up to 70 percent by providing a new route for freight, including Higher Productivity Freight Vehicles, servicing the port of Melbourne," Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas says.

VTA deputy Chief Executive Neil Chambers says that if the TAP is completed "we’d encourage trucks to use it" but it would also seek action on the truck curfew.

The VTA supports a second crossing of the river that avoids the same corridor as existing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, all WestLink options involve upgrades to Paramount Road and Dempster Street.

This includes a tunnel linking the Port of Melbourne precinct with an industrial area in Footscray West, then travelling north of Sunshine Road as a surface road, before crossing back south of Sunshine Road to join with the Western Ring Road, avoiding any residential acquisition.

It also includes the surface road section that travels through industrial areas in Brooklyn and Tottenham before joining with the Western Ring Road north of Boundary Road.

A longer tunnel will also be built, starting in the Port of Melbourne but travelling 1.5km further and emerging in an industrial area around Paramount Road and avoiding residential areas.

"All three short-listed options provide important benefits for Melbourne's west, including direct access to the Port of Melbourne for heavy vehicles and catering for future population growth," Pallas says.

"In relation to freight movements, our investigations have shown that WestLink would reduce congestion and take heavy vehicles off local roads in the inner west, particularly Somerville Road, Francis Street, Barkly Street and Buckley Street."

Pallas says the TAP will address community concerns about trucks by keeping them away from residential areas. However, he adds that heavy vehicles will be given round-the-clock access to the Port of Melbourne.

The route alignment for trucks means up to 21 homes might need to be demolished, Pallas says.

"We will endeavour to minimise the number of properties that will need to be acquired through the design and development phase of the project wherever possible," he says.

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