Pallas pours cash into truck plan

Government plans to take one million trucks off the road after announcing another $21 million for its Truck Action Plan

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 21, 2010

More than one million trucks will be taken off Melbourne West’s residential streets as the Victorian Government injects further funding into the Truck Action Plan (TAP).

The Government today announced $21 million to complete the northern section of the plan and upgrade Moreland and Whitehall Streets in Footscray.

The TAP is expected to reduce the number of trucks using Francis Street and Somerville Road by up to 70 per cent, which is around 1.2million fewer trucks each year by providing a new route for freight servicing the Port of Melbourne.

The funding brings the Government’s investment into the TAP to $40 million.

The preferred route for the $380 million project was recently released following extensive planning by VicRoads.

Moreland Street will be upgraded and widened and Whitehall Street reconfigured to provide a better option for freight.

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas says preconstruction planning has begun, with the construction works expected to start by mid next year.
No homes would be acquired during this stage of the project, he adds.

"This northern section of the TAP is a significant part of the project and will improve port access by improving traffic flow across Shepherds Bridge," Pallas says.

"We understand that people are concerned about trucks on our roads, which is why the Brumby Labor Government is building a better transport system and taking trucks off residential streets in Melbourne’s inner west."

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) President Peter Knight welcomes the announcement, saying it will change the area "greatly".

"It will completely change the character of the area, it will bring life back to the streets and make it a lot easier for children to cross the streets to go to school," Knight says.

"From our committee group there was about a dozen people and in that time five of them have sold their house and moved out because of the health concerns.

"At the moment Francis Street has the highest level of diesel pollution in Australia; it’s estimated that the TAP will take around 7000 trucks a day off the streets which will have a big positive impact on the health of children who are very vulnerable."

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Phillip Lovel welcomes the project, saying it is a "great step forward".

"It’s badly needed and we suggest let’s get on with it," Lovel says.

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