West Gate Tunnel environment report released

Report says 24-hour truck bans in the inner west will be extended

West Gate Tunnel environment report released
Richard Wynne says there will be significant impacts


Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne has signed off on the environmental effects statement (EES) for the West Gate Tunnel (WGT) project.

The project aims to cut congestion and reduce travel times but has a fair share of criticism, particularly as it relates to residential developments around the port.

The report says the project would enable the state government to extend 24-hour truck bans in the inner west, removing up to 9,300 trucks from residential streets.

"Once operational, tolling would be implemented," it continues.

"The tolling structure is still under development but it may include West Gate Freeway tolled for heavy commercial vehicles via two tolling points: one proposed between Grieve Parade and Millers Road and the other proposed between Millers Road and Williamstown Road, with these points tolling trucks for either Hyde Street ramps or the tunnel.

"Light commercial vehicles and cars would be tolled as they access the tunnel or on the Hyde Street ramps. A city access toll point would be located on the ramps to Dynon Road, Footscray Road and Wurundjeri Way and would apply for eastbound cars in the AM peak only.

"Final toll prices, and structure, are still subject to negotiations through the Department of Treasury and Finance’s Market Led Proposal process."

Under the plan, the port, CityLink and city connections component would include a crossing of the Maribyrnong River, connections to the Port of Melbourne, an elevated road above Footscray Road and connections to CityLink and the central city.

Connections would be provided to both sides of the Port of Melbourne via MacKenzie Road and Appleton Dock Road.

Inbound and outbound connections would be provided to CityLink, along with connections to Footscray Road, Dynon Road and a widened Wurundjeri Way extended through to Dynon Road.

The minister’s assessment recommends Wurundjeri Way be lowered and V/Line stabling yards be relocated to maximise the potential of the future E-Gate urban renewal precinct, as well as improve cycling and pedestrian connections between Docklands and North Melbourne.

The announcement during the EES hearings that the government will work with residents on Millers Road, Brooklyn to further reduce noise, such as the installation of double glazing to homes.

The assessment proposes a noise wall along the full length of future open space in Altona North, protecting the community from adverse noise and visual impacts. This is in addition to the new noise walls announced during the EES hearings, which will protect existing open space reserves along the West Gate Freeway.

Wynne also makes recommendations to ensure the health and safety of motorists in the tunnels, but he accepts the EPA’s submission that the filtration of tunnel ventilation emissions will do little to improve local air quality, and proposes that they are not included.

However, he has recommended that the construction of the ventilation stacks does not preclude the introduction of this technology in the future.

Wynne has asked for further investigation of how to best manage traffic issues in North and West Melbourne and prepare plans for a linear reserve along the Moonee Ponds Creek between Dynon and Footscray Roads.

These two studies will form part of a broader strategy to develop E-Gate and surrounds.

"There will be significant impacts during construction, but we’re getting the planning right to ensure disruptions are minimised and both the community and the environment are protected," Wynne says.

The EES can be found here.


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