Media Releases 2012
Rail delay, added congestion a cost of the East-West road
20 August 2012
Yarra Mayor Geoff Barbour today warned that an East-West road tunnel connection could cost up to $10 Billion to build and dry up funds for public rail transport and any other major transport infrastructure project in Victoria.
Responding to published remarks of Department of Transport Secretary Jim Betts to an audience at the Ogden Transport Lecture last week, Cr Barbour said: “Rather than easing traffic queues, the East-West tunnel will add to congestion as more motorists seek to use exits to Melbourne City.
“Yarra Council and other municipalities prefer that scarce infrastructure funds be used for a Doncaster Rail Line down the centre of the Eastern Freeway that will get commuters on the train and out of their vehicles,” Cr Barbour said.
“Every train that runs will take 800 cars off the freeway and inner city streets,” he said. “Only 15% of the 120,000 vehicles using the Eastern Freeway each day will travel across the City by tunnel. More than 80% of the traffic will seek to exit to the Central Business District and inner city areas for jobs and services.”
Cr Barbour fears that to fund the multi-billion dollar project the State Government might add tolled exit points to inner Melbourne, thereby diverting even more traffic onto already-choked roads and neighbourhood streets.
“The best real solution is a rail solution,” said Cr Barbour. “The Doncaster Rail Link can be built for $840 million according to Peter Newman of Infrastructure Australia,” he said.
“A real fear is that an East-West tunnel will make traffic conditions through Melbourne intolerable for years, delay much needed and long promised rail projects and quickly fail as a transport solution.”
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