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Rail projects will not help traffic congestion, hearing told

Date

Aisha Dow, Adam Carey

The Doncaster and Metro rail projects would not ease the road congestion that the East West Link has been designed to fix, according to the authority in charge of building the road.

Instead Melbourne faces "unimaginable” congestion without the $6 billion to $8 billion tunnel, with traffic every day akin to the chaos experienced when in 2012 when CityLink’s tunnels were closed due to a computer malfunction.

On the last day of the public hearings into the East West Link, the Linking Melbourne Authority quoted figures showing congestion problems will not be fixed if billions earmarked for the project are instead spent on public transport.

"If we did not have East West Link but spent money on some other projects, we’re not going to get relief in future from traffic congestion that will arise," Stuart Morris QC, for the Linking Melbourne Authority, told the expert panel assessing the road.

Transport modelling had found that the Doncaster rail line, a project favoured by public transport advocates as an East West Link alternative, would reduce traffic volumes on the toll road by just 0.1 per cent, Mr Morris said.

The Metro rail tunnel would reduce east-west traffic by just 0.4 per cent.

"In 2031, if we don’t have East West Link we’re going to have not the traffic congestion of today, but traffic congestion that is unimaginable today," Mr Morris said.

He also argued that the road’s benefits should not be assessed through a cost-benefit analysis, and that releasing the business case for the road would go against the state’s interest, by revealing to bidders the government’s estimate of the project’s cost.

"A cost-benefit analysis is neither necessary nor desirable to justify all transportation projects," Mr Morris told the committee. 

He said monetary value was not the most appropriate way to measure the worth of a project built in response to population growth, or the need to provide better access to employment.

Meanwhile, councils and 14 community groups addressing the public hearing have urged the assessment committee not to approve the government’s reference design, claiming that the project is being rushed and that the Comprehensive Impact Statement was unacceptably flawed.

In a scathing final submission delivered by Yarra City Council, the council said the COS was so “deficient” the government should do another one.

“This CIS is an abject failure,” the council said. “In the council’s view, there is no other way to allow this project to proceed to approval and at the same time maintain the integrity of the planning system in this state.”

Moreland City Council called for an “independent reviewer” to oversee the project and for traffic noise guidelines to be reviewed across Victoria.

Linking Melbourne Authority was also criticised by the City of Melbourne and other submitters for “not seriously considering” any of the 16 alternative designs put forward to the committee.

107 comments

  • Improving public transport will not do anything to help congestion, according to the firms set to make millions in tolls & other payments if their pet project the tunnel goes ahead.

    And in other news, according to Philip Morris, smoking is actually really good for you .

    Commenter
    Sambo
    Date and time
    April 16, 2014, 7:07AM
    • The more congestion, the more it takes trucks to move around Melbourne. As transport times increase, an increase in trucks is required to get the equivalents amount of goods, further adding to congestion. Then we pay for those trucks is the price of goods we purchase in shops and supermarkets. Partly the reason why its so expensive to make anything in Melbourne, is the high cost of transporting goods around this congested city. Building the East West Link will initially reduce our costs. Public

      Commenter
      Kingstondude
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 8:53AM
    • Also good to see this authority has plenty of cash to hire a very expensive QC to put across this fairly basic argument.

      The rent seekers are already queueing up to get their piece of the action on this one. Can hear those investment bankers ordering the Krug by the boxload as the commissions start rolling in soon...

      All properly connected with the right people of course.

      Commenter
      Mozza
      Location
      Highton (the multicultural heart of Corrangamite)
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 9:07AM
    • People need to remove tired half cocked ideas from their minds and debate newer versions. Public transport can solve this void if bought up to first class and futuristic standard rather than tinkering to buy the votes, and whilst resources of all types are stretched, we seriously and urgently need to address the population problems adding to these woes, as each time we make space, the new intake eats it up and we get nowhere, and this applies to all resources. For Vic PUP party, I will be proposing a total huge spend on getting public transport to futuristic standard, a whatever it needs policy, more trains and trams with better timing, better capacity to entice travellers, and hopefully if enough extra patronage then cheaper fares, and extensions to all new suburbs, and why toss out hitachi trains when they can be temporarily used as short branch line trains to new suburbs to kick start them whilst new ones are built. And this gets many cars off the road and saves heaps on paying road tolls to monopolies. And I propose canvassing my party with an issue oddly mostly migrants are putting to me for their kids futures, that being a few years cut in migrant intake to stabilize population so as we can get our resources up to standard to cope with more loads. The bucket is full. one can no longer add fuel to the fire. Migration is negative when we have huge job losses and overloaded resources, therefore most destined for welfare as an added load, it is not a race issue its an economic issue.

      Commenter
      Brian Woods
      Location
      Glenroy
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 9:11AM
    • The firms that are designing and building East West Link are the same firms that would design and build Metro Tunnel or Doncaster Link.

      Commenter
      NT
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 9:15AM
    • Excellent :-)

      Commenter
      Badger
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 9:45AM
    • Well the authority in charge of building the road would say that wouldn't they because they are not the authority in charge of building a rail network. When you toll a road you kill a road. In any case I don't believe this road is warranted. The traffic that goes onto Tullamarine is a fraction of what is at Clifton Hill and of course the section of freeway between Springvale Rd and Hoddle Street will also be tolled as there is no way they will leave a "bit in the middle" untolled. Good luck all those Doncaster resdients going to the city who won't have a train, won't use the tunnel and will have to pay for the Eastern Freeway. And just to prove the worth of toll roads. Stud Road is stillclogged. Springvale Rd and Boronia rd are still clogged. Canterbury Rd is still clogged. In the middle of the day, I could shoot a cannon down Eastlink south of Wellington Rd and be confident not to hit anything except a toll gantry. Build it and they will come. Nope. It will be a dinosaur like Brisbane. It will open and everyone will avoid it.

      Commenter
      $6 billion poorly spent
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 10:16AM
    • The bottleneck in the railway system, which would be removed by building the Metro tunnel and its underground stations, would allow many more reliable services during the busy hours and therefore would remove thousands from the freeways during the peak periods. Does that sound like no effect?

      Commenter
      Steven
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 10:58AM
    • The east west is a waste of money. The inner city is nothing but a polluted carpark. let's not waste any more taxpayers dollars in trying to improve traffic as it will only bring more cars into the inner city carpark.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 11:39AM
    • @ Steven, The Metro Tunnel is the most Inner City Centric selfish proposal ever put. More Lines could be put under Flinders and Spencer St. Stations far cheaper.. While those who live around Alexandra Ave walk less than 100m to the nearest rail public transport, we who live in the outer suburbs have little or none. An extra rail tunnel from Caulfield to North Melbourne so that those who work on St. Kilda Rd don't have to catch a tram? Melbourne Uni already serviced by 2 rail services needs another, while Monash Uni has none? There is much disparity in Melbourne Property prices caused primarily by the difference in public transport. Inner City public transport advocates want more public transport for themselves.

      Commenter
      Kingstondude
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 16, 2014, 11:53AM

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