Sir Rod calls for bans and bypasses under Truck Action Plan

By: Jason Whittaker

The Victorian Government is being asked to construct bypasses and put in place truck bans as part of a multi-billion

The Victorian Government is being asked to construct bypasses and put in place truck bans as part of a multi-billion dollar transport plan proposed by Sir Rod Eddington.

The East West Link Needs Assessment (EWLNA) report says excessive road freight movement through local areas such as Francis Street and Somerville Road are affecting the liveability of inner west suburbs.

About 7,000 trucks a day use Francis Street as a shortcut from the West Gate Freeway to the Port of Melbourne, according to the report.

In line with public submissions, Eddington and his study team have recommended the Government take steps to remove trucks from local streets by setting up a barrier to be enforced by bans and monitoring technology.

But as a trade-off, the report calls for the Brumby Government to provide a number of freight connections which come under what Eddington terms the Truck Action Plan.

Eddington says new, as well as upgraded, routes are needed to accommodate the burgeoning freight task, which is forecast to double by 2020.

If the plan is implemented, the Government will build a new link from the West Gate Freeway to the Port of Melbourne via Hyde Street.

"This would greatly reduce the need for heavy trucks to use Francis Street and Somerville Road to access the port," the report says.

Furthermore, the plan also recommends a new and upgraded north-south freight route along Paramount Road and Ashley Street in West Footscray. This route will link Geelong Road with Sunshine Road and the Western Highway.

Following the construction of these links, Eddington says the Government should then enforce bans in local areas.

The study team says the Ashley Street/Paramount Road link along Cemetery Road should also be extended so it can directly link to the West Gate Freeway.

Eddington’s team also support a new road connecting Footscray and Dynon Roads with Ballarat Road near Lynch’s Bridge.

"This link would form a direct route to the port from Ballarat Road and would create an alternative to Moore Street, which currently carries around 2,000 trucks per day," the report says.

This is all backed up by one of two major infrastructure recommendations, which is the construction of an 18km cross city road corridor as an alternative to the West Gate Bridge.

The other proposal is for a 17km rail tunnel that links the State’s western and south-eastern suburbs.

One proposal, however, may force property owners to sacrifice their homes for the good of the supply chain. The report recommends the widening of Ballarat Road from Geelong Road to Ashley Street, which will involve "significant acquisition".

But cost of inaction will be far greater, according to the report.
"Without this widening Ballarat Road will continue to act as a constraint on the network," it says.

As well as infrastructure upgrades, Eddington is supporting industry calls for greater use of high productivity vehicles such as B-triples. He says the projected increase in the metropolitan freight task means they must be introduced on designated routes.

It is estimated the Truck Action Plan will cost $1.5 million. It forms part of Eddington’s $18 billion transport plan which was commissioned in 2006 and handed to Premier John Brumby yesterday.
Eddington conceded the plan is too much for the State Government to fund alone, and is calling on the private sector to invest in in joint projects.

The plan highlighted the need for new routes to reduce Melbourne’s dependence on the West Gate Bridge, as well as solutions to improving transport connections across the State’s east-west corridor.

The Government has called for public consultation on the plan, with Brumby saying he will make a decision on it by the end of the year.

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