As new West Gate lanes open, VTA calls for east-west alternative

Victorian Transport Association is calling for an alternative road to the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne's west

By Ruza Zivkusic | June 23, 2011

As commuters enjoy the benefits of an extra lane on the West Gate Bridge, the Victorian Transport Association is calling for an alternative road in Melbourne’s west.

VTA CEO Phil Lovel says a river crossing is needed – preferably a bridge – to ease congestion.

"We certainly would rather have a bridge than a tunnel because a lot of trucks can’t go down the tunnels because of the dangerous goods or their height," he says.

"We need another alternative crossing sooner than later," Lovel says.

RACV public policy general manager Brian Negus is echoing Lovel’s call, saying commuters in the west are reliant on the West Gate Bridge and have no where to go if it breaks down.

"Whilst we’re glad to see that the project is finally finished, it actually is time to start planning for an east-west crossing in Melbourne because we are totally reliant on the West Gate and if something happens on that corridor it will come to a halt," Negus says.

"The delay on the West Gate Bridge and on the Western Freeway over the last several of years have been very frustrating for all motorists and especially for truck drivers as there’s a very heavy percentage of trucks on the West Gate Bridge.

"We should see a relief of that congestion or a drop in queues down in Werribee in the mornings which back up at CityLink and in the Burnley Tunnel."

And while it’s still early to see the benefits of an extra lane added in each direction on the bridge, Lovel says the 3.2 metre wide lanes could be too narrow for trucks.

"We are waiting for our members to tell us what they think but they are a little bit narrow. The transport industry needs to be careful as they could sway a little bit," he says.

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