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East-west viaduct coming and Kensington residents want out

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Apartment owners want payout for east-west link

Residents of a converted warehouse in Kensington want compensation from the government after discovering their homes will be within metres of a four lane roadway carrying an estimated 60,000 vehicles per day.

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The owners of dozens of new apartments in a converted warehouse in Kensington have implored the Napthine government to buy them out because their homes will be just 14 metres from an elevated road forming part of the east-west link.

Recently released technical drawings for the $6-$8 billion project indicate the apartment building will be substantially overshadowed by a four-lane viaduct. It is anticipated the viaduct will eventually carry 60,000 vehicles a day, thousands of them heavy vehicles.

Apartment owners, who paid between $600,000 and $800,000 for their properties before plans for the east-west link were announced, say they face huge losses in equity and reduced quality of life from living in the shadow of a busy tollway.

Residents of the Kensington apartments.

Residents of the Kensington apartments. Photo: Justin McManus

The project boundary for the east-west link runs along the footpath outside the Kensington Warehouse Apartments on Bent Street but does not touch the property.

A similar situation occurred last year regarding the EVO apartments in Parkville, in which the state government agreed to buy every property in the building because a small section of communal land will be acquired for the road.

The residents of the Kensington building have argued that their own situation is equally dire and deserving of compensation.

In a letter to Premier Denis Napthine and other senior government ministers, dated December 12, they requested that the government either purchase their homes or compensate them for lost value.

''We purchased these apartments in good faith, in an inner-city suburb that was designated for urban renewal. Now we are faced with living 14 metres from a new four-lane viaduct ferrying noisy, polluting B-double trucks and other traffic to and from the Melbourne port,'' the letter states. ''Should the government offer to purchase 18 Bent Street, it is very likely that all owners would accept.''

The letter is co-signed by 26 owners. The head of the Linking Melbourne Authority, Ken Mathers, replied on February 13 after a two-month interval, to say that Roads Minister Terry Mulder would respond ''in the near future''.

''I appreciate that this is a difficult time for you and understand that residents and property owners may be experiencing anxiety at this time,'' Mr Mathers wrote.

The authority has said that the four-lane viaduct, between Parkville and the Port of Melbourne, is ''an essential component of the east-west link''.

''To achieve the full east-west link, it is necessary to provide the section parallel to CityLink between Footscray Road and near Flemington Road,'' the authority said in its response to questions from the government planning panel assessing the road project, published this month.

The City of Melbourne has argued the viaduct does not need to be built until 2031, because CityLink could handle the expected increase in traffic.

The viaduct has dashed Melbourne City Council's plans for urban renewal in that part of Kensington and the regeneration of Moonee Ponds Creek.

A government spokeswoman said the Kensington building was ''outside the project area and not subject to acquisition at this stage''. The Linking Melbourne Authority will speak with owners in coming months, she said.

The full east-west link is a planned 18-kilometre road between the Eastern Freeway and the Western Ring Road.

41 comments

  • We do not want east-west link!

    This arterial road is a gross waste of scarce public money. It is divisive, city-wrecking stuff and will simply add to the overall traffic congestion burden faced by Melbourne. Just like in Brisbane and Sydney, this appalling tunnel represents a truly wicked splurge of taxpayer dollars which are badly needed elsewhere.

    Napthine must go. He has refused to listen to the people of this city and apparently has too small a brain to understand that big roads generate even bigger traffic. The sooner Shaw decides not to support this clown the better for everyone.

    Napthine, he's a great Premier for the 1950's.

    Commenter
    Elene
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    February 24, 2014, 7:18AM
    • Property value compensation for locals is one issue. Just as if not more so is quantifying the health impact of the project on the wider community

      Commenter
      Oz
      Location
      Princes Hill
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 7:57AM
    • Un-effing believable to think that a Western government will want to carve up an inner city for a huge road. Rather than a well planned and liveable inner city, they would rather run a massive road through. It will forver be a scar running through Melbourne. Think about the Cahill expressway in Sydney. Think about CityLink that has divided our own Southbank. These roads divide the cityscape and offer no street life.

      Consider the Melbourne metro's likely impact on the city Napthine. It is public transport that will benefit the entire city not a massive road.

      Commenter
      Seconded
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 8:11AM
    • E-W link or no link, but isn't 18 Bent Street, Kensington abutting the freeway already? or am i missing something here.

      Commenter
      GGx
      Location
      Melbounre
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 10:19AM
    • My Google maps shows Bent Street already running parallel along the City link tollway, the residents are looking to the Parkville buy out to sell out too.....After 40 years of living in and around the city, (from Northcote, Brunswick, Collingwood, Fitzroy etc,) we moved out to the rural fringe...and do not regret it one iota....But hey, my city cousins have access to good cafes....if they can breathe......

      Commenter
      shemp
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 1:20PM
    • @Elene, personally I want to see East West link built, don't assume everyone doesn't want it. While I'd prefer to see Metro Tunnel built first I can understand that if the Vic government had continued with it's plans to build it Metro the Federal government wouldn't have put up any money and we would have neither East West or Metro. The worst thing about East West has been the secrecy around the project and the fact that it wasn't submitted to Infrastructure Australia but this doesn't make East West an unworthy project.

      Commenter
      NT
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 3:17PM
  • This government won on the back of promised improvements to public transport, yet now wants to throw away $8billion on this dud tollway. Napthine and Co, it is time to go.

    Commenter
    MA
    Date and time
    February 24, 2014, 7:35AM
    • yep that's obviously why ballieu was pushed. he ran his campaign on a lie and either couldn't or wouldn't commit to the east west project. now we have this dud vet running things it seems there is no turning back.

      Commenter
      Geoff
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 1:43PM
  • Hey, I want compensation for the decades of State Government which have built roads over public transport! Seriously, I am yet to meet someone in this city who believes that another road should be the priority before massive PT investment. It is madness.

    Commenter
    Richard
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 24, 2014, 7:51AM
    • Hey Richard, get out more, this road is for the fast majority of people who don't want to come into the city but want to drive around or through. This city has become a joke with the road choking bike lanes, tram lanes 40k speed limit, it is pathetic and people like you wonder why traffic is at a standstill.................it has been caused by poor planning and bad management. Some may say social engineering gone wrong...........Vote for the greens this is what you get !

      Commenter
      Bugme
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 24, 2014, 8:44AM

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