Larger trucks take toll on Westgate Bridge

VicRoads report recommends massive funding increase for Westgate Bridge as growth in longer and heavier trucks takes a toll

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | February 9, 2012

Traffic congestion will add further pressure to Melbourne’s Westgate Bridge, which is already suffering from cracks, according to a report.

Addressed to Transport Minister Terry Mulder, the confidential report prepared by VicRoads last year states that traffic loading has increased at a rate "beyond all expectations".

"The legal weight of commercial vehicles has more than doubled and commercial vehicles have moved from shorter, rigid axle trucks to longer and heavier articulated trucks," the report says.

"Growth in average vehicle weight and traffic volume, particularly the growth in recent years, will continue to exacerbate fatigue crack issues that have been a feature of this bridge since it was first opened to traffic.

"Under the current maintenance strategy, it is estimated that average recurrent funding in excess of $10 million will be required annually over the next 15 years to ensure the bridge remains in a serviceable and safe condition."

The steel bridge collapsed during construction in 1970, killing 35 workers. It is the country’s worst industrial accident.

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