VTA wants creative thinking in North-East Link design

Anderson says selected corridor should include design elements that expedite safe truck movement

VTA wants creative thinking in North-East Link design
Anderson says heavy vehicle drivers prefer to use bigger roads for safety and efficiency reasons.


Authorities should prioritise the safe and seamless movement of heavy vehicles in the design and planning of the ‘missing link’ corridor in Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road, Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson says.

Anderson’s remarks come as the North-East Link Authority (NELA) is finalising the business case for the state government, which has committed to announce a preferred corridor by the end of the year.

Speaking at the Developing Greater Melbourne conference today, Anderson says it is important that the ongoing assessment of the proposed four options takes into consideration innovative and creative design elements that cater to heavy vehicle travelling between Melbourne’s south-east and north.

He says it should be noted that except for trucks making deliveries in those areas heavy vehicle drivers have "no intention" of using local roads for safety and efficiency reasons.

"So many of the problems we have experienced on suburban roads in Melbourne’s north east are a result of there being no direct alternative for heavy vehicles wanting to get between the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink and on to the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough," Anderson says.

"VicRoads’ traffic studies have verified most of those trucks are not doing local deliveries, which underscores the need for a future North-East Link to contain design and engineering elements that make it seamless and quicker for these vehicles to complete their journey.

"For example, dedicated freight lanes for trucks that do not require local road access, and other design and engineering methods that separate through-truck-traffic, would be a great solution for separating heavy vehicles from other road users, and helping them to complete their journey faster and safer.

"Heavy vehicle drivers will always use a bigger road where one is available because they are safer and more efficient.

"Dedicated freight lanes and other inducements to encourage trucks away from local roads are a no-brainer because they will reduce traffic congestion for all motorists, not just truck drivers."

Anderson says the selected corridor must include design elements that safely boost the movement of freight.   

"While the VTA has previously expressed support for the 26-kilometer Option C corridor, our various consultations with stakeholders have helped us form the view that the inclusion of design elements that safely expedites the movement of freight is arguably more important than whatever corridor is selected," he says.

Regardless of which corridor proposal is finalised, Anderson says the state government deserves credit for taking on the project.

"We’ve come a long way since partnering with the RACV and other industry and resident groups last year on our campaign for North-East Link to be built," he says.

"As the debate sharpens around which corridor will be selected, we look forward to advocating for solutions that will most reduce traffic and congestion, and improve productivity for the freight industry."

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