West Gate can handle road freight volumes, VicRoads says

West Gate Bridge can withstand all loads and sizes of trucks, VicRoads says, despite report revealing it suffers from cracks

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | February 16, 2012

Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge can withstand all loads and sizes of trucks, VicRoads says, despite a report revealing it suffers from cracks.

VicRoads Executive Director Regional Services Steve Brown says the bridge is in a safe condition due to the department’s "ongoing rigorous inspection and maintenance program".

"The loading on the bridge is monitored and the bridge is always kept in a safe condition," Brown says.

"The length of trucks alone doesn’t impact on pavement wear. The West Gate Bridge can accommodate all legal vehicle combinations, axle loadings and spacings."

Addressed to Transport Minister Terry Mulder, a 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 doubled and commercial vehicles have moved from shorter, rigid axle trucks to longer and heavier articulated trucks, the report says.

Brown says VicRoads is continually planning to improve the arterial road network to manage congestion, promote sustainable transport modes and maintain accessibility.

"Melbourne’s freeways have been designed to operate efficiently while carrying the bulk of the daily traffic volume and heavy vehicles, and they will continue to do so into the future," he says.

"With increasing traffic volumes due to population growth, VicRoads continues to implement an ongoing programme of road improvement projects designed to accommodate this trend."

Brown says recently completed bridge improvements include strengthening, extra lanes and installation of an integrated freeway management system.

He says the system has provided significant capacity improvement to assist traffic flow along the M1 route, which includes the Princes Freeway, West Gate Bridge and West Gate Freeway.

"As part of the strengthening project an additional lane was added in each direction to cater for future traffic growth, especially freight," he says.

"Separate to the recent strengthening works, the West Gate Bridge is subject to a comprehensive inspection and maintenance regime to ensure ongoing safe and functional operation, which will continue for the life of the bridge."

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