Greater road investment needed to cope with traffic

Melbourne's outer-metropolitan arterial roads need urgent improvement, motoring group RACV says

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 24, 2011

Melbourne’s outer-metropolitan arterial roads need urgent improvement if the city is to cope with 1.4 million more cars within 20 years, Victorian motoring group RACV says.

Car ownership is predicted to grow by 5.5 million in Australia, a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit has found.

RACV public policy manager Brian Negus believes the increase will place huge pressures on the transport system, particularly on the freight network.

"Without significant improvement to our road infrastructure we just won’t cope and congestion will increase and costs for business will go up," Negus says.

"The key changes that RACV has been putting forward for quite some time now very strongly on behalf of our members are to fill the freeway gaps and to complete the Western Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway and EastLink which are important for freight.

"In outer Melbourne in the growth suburbs there is a lot of freight activity with lots of shopping centres and a lot of deliveries by semi-trailers.

"We need to improve the arterial roads, which are one lane each, they’re trying to cope with those pressures of population growth and the increase in vehicles."

Negus believes underpasses or overpasses need to be built at railway crossings to aid freight.

"Congestion is costing Melbournians billions of dollars already. Because of the delays to freight which are much higher then they are to a private car, they are frustrating and cost a lot of money and add costs to businesses which invariably puts the cost of products up," he says.

Negus says he has met Victoria Transport Minister Terry Mulder to discuss transport issues but says it’s still early days for the new government.

"They have committed to reviewing and coming up with a transport plan and we want to see those projects included," he says.

"The previous government did have a transport plan and they’ve made certain commitments but the dollars clearly weren’t there. That’s an issue which we’ve tried to focus on. The same issue needs to be addressed by the current government in combination with Canberra."

Negus says governments need to look at involving the private sector to fund big-ticket projects.

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