East West Link a ‘freight solution’

The CEO of Linking Melbourne Authority has confirmed that the proposed East West Link is a “freight solution” providing an alternative city by-pass for trucks.

Speaking on 774 radio on Friday, Ken Mathers was asked whether the East West Link was a freight solution as opposed to a commuter solution.

“That’s correct,” he replied.

Mr Mathers said that the link will reduce the number of trucks using the M1 corridor (Monash freeway, CityLink and Westgate freeway) and will facilitate an alternative route to the airport and Port of Melbourne.

This was despite announcing the previous day that the East West Link was required to avoid major increases in traffic in the inner north and west by 2031.

A statement issued by the Linking Melbourne Authority on Thursday said “by moving cars underground into the East West Link tunnel, traffic on key routes could decrease by up to 30 per cent”.

The traffic analysis conducted for the Comprehensive Impact Study concluded the East West Link would bring an extra 0.04 per cent of vehicles using the route as opposed to the link not being built.

However, Victorian Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said that without the East West Link “traffic on other key east-west roads will increase by 20 to 30 per cent”.

VicRoads staff previously raised questions about traffic data relied on by Linking Melbourne Authority.  A leaked email from a VicRoads manager stated:

“My advice to you is that we must not trust the information provided to us by the Linking Melbourne Authority, because it does not use VITM for the modeling … it appears to be using an inflated value of time to artificially inflate the benefits that can be expected from the project.”

The Comprehensive Impact Statement looked primarily at the am peak period to assess traffic impacts because this is the time at which traffic is most concentrated.

Victorian government data from 2006 showed that only 15 per cent of Melbourne’s freight movements occurred during the morning peak period of 7-9am.

Freight movements across Melbourne showed that the heaviest movements into Melbourne metro were from the north, northwest and southwest – according to 2006 data.

Dandenong, Somerton, the Port of Melbourne, northern suburbs and the north west of Melbourne were key destinations for freight.

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