Victoria Budget infrastructure spend focuses on road congestion


Level crossings take a hefty slice as freight route bridges get attention

Victoria Budget infrastructure spend focuses on road congestion
Roads minister Luke Donellan sees the Budget tackling congestion.

 

Roads and freeways around Melbourne are the major beneficiaries of the Victorian Labor Government’s first Budget but there will be spending in regional road infrastructure.

Intriguingly, $76 million will be spent over three years to strengthen so far unidentified bridges on key freight routes "so heavy vehicles can take more direct routes to our farms, towns and communities".

Weak bridges on such routes have been identified as a hindrance to the adoption of high productivity vehicle routes.

The urban centrepiece is $2.4 billion over four years to remove level crossings.

The State Governement has already said all nine level crossings between Dandenong and Caulfield would be removed as part of its Cranbourne-Pakenham line development project.

Another four level crossings already out to market at Main Road in St Albans, North Road in Ormond, Burke Road in Glen Iris, and Blackburn Road in Blackburn will be removed within the next three years.

Now it has been revealed that the Level Crossing Removal Authority has already taken market soundings for four additional level crossing removals located close to the four already out to market. These are:

  • Furlong Road, near Main Road in St Albans
  • Heatherdale Road near Blackburn Road in Blackburn
  • Centre Road, Bentleigh
  • McKinnon Road, McKinnon.

As well, $50.5 million is aimed at improving 52 regional level crossings

"We want Victorians to spend less time stuck in traffic and more time at home with their families," roads minister Luke Donellan says.

"Over $600 million in projects will ease congestion, cut travel times and improve road safety across the state."

"Chandler Highway Bridge is a nightmare and the Western Ring Road isn’t wide enough – they need to be fixed."

The Western Ring Road $150 million to undertake the next stage of the M80 Upgrade, to widen the road and install traffic management equipment from Sunshine Avenue to the EJ Whitten Bridge.

The previous government’s pledge to widen Shepherds Bridge on Footscray Road near Swanson Dock gains attention, with $40 million to "deliver works this year" on it and to widen Whitehall Street as part of the West Gate Distributor project.

Though not on a major trucking arterial any river crossing is crucial, so $110 million goes to duplicate the Chandler Highway bridge over the Yarra River.

The government notes the bridge was rated Melbourne’s number one congestion point in the RACV’s Redspot Survey last year.

Elsewhere, the Budget allocates $86.7 million to resurface unsafe, deteriorating roads around the state.

The Government states that "$75.8 million will be invested to strengthen bridges on key freight routes across Victoria, so vehicles with heavier loads can take more direct routes through the country and get goods to market faster".

There will be $20.5 million to commence the duplication of two congested sections of Thompsons Road in Cranbourne, between Frankston-Dandenong Road and the South Gippsland Highway, and between Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road and Clyde Road.

Planning for more road upgrades will mean $1.8 million to kick-start work on streamlined traffic flows on Hoddle Street and $3.8 million to start planning upgrades of Bolton Street in Eltham, Yan Yean Road in Plenty, Napier Street in Bendigo and the Drysdale Bypass.

There is even something for truckmakers, with 70 new Country Fire Authority vehicles to be bought in a $44 million allocation that includes station upgrades.

In the rail-freight sphere, the Murray Basin Rail Project gets Budget attention, with up to $220 million for the project once the business case is finalised, which is expected to occur in coming months, after $30 million was fast-tracked in February to get work started.

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