On off ramps for Westgate.

December 7, 2008 95 Comments

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group

Press Release

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group applauds plan to take trucks off streets

After years of campaigning, the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group is today celebrating the announcement of the Brumby government’s plan to build a route from the Westgate Freeway to the port.

“This is what we have been lobbying for since the inception of MTAG,” said Peter Knight, “it really is great that the government has listened to the community.”

MTAG’s advocacy for the Westgate/port link was given a huge vote of support in the Eddington East West Needs Assessment study and has since also been endorsed by the Victorian Transport Union and a wide range of community groups. “It is the right decision,” said Mr Knight, “it will bring great relief to a huge number of residents and will also allow freight to move more efficiently.”

MTAG is, however, keen to emphasise that it understand the on/off ramps will be a cause for concern for a number of residents located near the planned route. “We see our role now here as advocating for good outcomes for those residents and also for Stony Creek Nature Reserve, which is located near the Westgate Bridge,” said Peter Knight. “We have already begun discussions about these matters and at each stage have found the government to be responsive and open to our suggestions and concerns.”

While MTAG is celebrating the commitment to building the Westgate on/off ramps it is concerned about the alignment of the proposed tunnel under Footscray. In the plan at present the tunnel entrance/exit is in West Footscray, which would be a disaster for residents. “We intend to lobby the government to have the tunnel come out further west past the residential areas of West Footscray. Minister Pallas has indicated a willingness to listen to residents with regard to the alignment of the tunnel.”

“We have developed constructive working relationships with government at local and ministerial levels and look forward to working positively together during the development phase of these projects.”

95 responses to "On off ramps for Westgate."

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    They're probably not breaking the curfew unfortunately. The definition of 'local truck' is so broad it's ridiculous. Hopefully that will change. Good news for you is that when the ramps are built you should experience about a 70% drop in truck traffic in your vicinity

  • Paul says: (Edit)

    From today's Herald Sun: "The Brumby Government also failed to snare federal funding for stage 1 of its Truck Action Plan to drive heavy transport out of the inner-western suburbs. Stage 1 of the plan would have seen a new $380 million road for trucks built between the West Gate Freeway and Hyde St, Yarraville, but the plan was completely snubbed by Infrastructure Australia."

  • Luke says: (Edit)

    So it was all bullshit. Very dishonest of the Brumby government.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Back to the streets. When's the first blockade of Francis St????

  • Off/On Ramps Westgate Freeway says: (Edit)

    I agree. MTAG has done an excellent job in lobbying the local government for a solution however the people of the West have yet again been ignored. I'm sick and tired of the government telling people they are looking at it -- I even went to the community information session a few weeks ago and personally spoke to representatives of both Vic Roads and the Victorian Government. I was told then that the On/ Off Ramps on the Westgate Freeway were a priority and needed to be completed by 2012. I was informed that the final plans (after community consultation) would be completed by the end of this year with building to commence at the start of 2010. Was that a lie??? If so lets get tough and block both Somerville Road and Francis Street on a regular basis at spiratic intervals.. Residents of the West should not be lied to and should not be ignored!

  • Cryss says: (Edit)

    Earlier last week I recieved my rates notice, and was ASTOUNDED to see the value that the council places on my property, in what world do they live in whereby they can raise the capital value of my home and therefore increase my rates to align to the value and then continue to surround my home with industry and trucks. They can not honestly continue to allow this filth to invade our homes and our bodies and then slap us with an increase in rates. Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to pay higher rates if I see my money going to the right place, but in the past 3 years I haven't seen one cent of our rates spent wisely, even the Stephen Street glamorisation is half assed, the street is now strewn with white pebbles and weeds, there are orange flags everywhere, why can't they do something properly and/or finish a job when they start it. If anyone can help me understand the reason why so many trucks rely on Francis St and Somerville Rd it would be great, as I'm not entirely clear as to why this is a preferred route for them. I'm up for some serious action here, next blockade count US in. There are other options for these truck drivers, we have tried long and hard to reason with them, to discuss and debate logically (unfortunately it is difficult to negotiate with people who have no intention of changing, greed plays a significant role in this process). So the time is now to hit them where it hurts.

  • Edwina says: (Edit)

    We need to start enforcing the curfews ourselves. We need a group - one night a week, to picket the trucks using the streets. We can stop them at the pedestrian crossings and distribute pamphlets about the curfew and the impacts on residents. We need cameras to record any encounters that become ugly and we need to start logging all trucks using the streets during the curfew and demanding follow up from Vic Roads. I propose one group positioned at Francis and Willy Road to catch them turning onto Francis Street and one at the Mobile terminal to ensure the trucks don't turn down Francis St. Please join me in always flashing your lights at trucks using tour streets during the curfew.

  • Cryss says: (Edit)

    Edwina I would be happy to participate in a nightly watch of the trucks, the crossing lights near Ballarat Street can be easiy manned, as can the lights at Stephen Street. Everyone I think it is time for us to take some responsibility for our current dilema instead of waiting for MTag to do it on our behalf. If you are interested in getting togther a small group to undertake this night watch feel free to post on here and we can organise a meeting.

  • Off/On Ramps Westgate Freeway says: (Edit)

    Edwina/ Cryss -- I don't recommend that you guys actually stop the trucks. That could become quite messy, dangerous and is illegal. What I do recommend is that you take out video cameras and actually film the trucks breaking the curfews...I also suggest we get a petition going and approach local politicians (not Labor) and voice our concerns. If we can get non Labor policitcal parties to believe that helping our cause will inevitably get them into government over Labor, half our battle is won.. I still believe regular legal blockages of both Francis Street and Somerville Road where Vic Roads/ The media and Police are all notified in advance, will be the most direct message to all concerned due to the relevant media coverage etc. I think those interested in taking matters further should arrange a meeting to discuss all our options. I also urge MTAG to paticipate in any such meeting.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Hi guys, I appreciate your concerns and frustrations but now is not the time to start doing things like blockading streets without notice etc. Actually there's never a time for that. As Off/On Ramps rightly points out, just for starters it's illegal. It will also do our cause no end of harm. We need to keep building the broadest possible consensus... Don't write off the ramps yet, the MTAG committee is having various meetings in the next few weeks and everything is in play. We have built up a positive dialogue with the minister and we have to take him at his word at this point. He says he's determined to see the ramps built. So let's give it a few weeks and see what develops. Then if more pressure needs to be applied we can organise a blockade with the cooperation of the police, and I'm all for that if it's necessary. As for the curfews, I think monitoring is a good idea but the problem is more the definition of what constitutes a local truck. We are also working on that and have a letter on the minister's desk right now. More on that soon. For those wanting a meeting, MTAG will be holding its AGM shortly. Stay tuned.

  • Natalie Zirngast says: (Edit)

    Hi guys, This is Natalie from the No Freeway 4 West Footscray group. Just letting you know that the quote from me in this weeks Star newspaper regarding the off ramps is incorrect and Charlene has agreed to print a retraction. My comment on the state budget was in regard to the Footscray tunnel and Paramount/Demster truck route proposals only. I was careful not to mention the ramps at all, as our group has no official position on them. While a related issue, it is not the one we cover and we are clear that MTAG is the group that represents community views on this. Not my fault but I'm sorry for the mixup. Best of luck with your upcoming AGM. Natalie

  • adam says: (Edit)

    In lobbying the local government for a solution however the people of the West have yet again been ignored
    How about the $3.2 BILLION for the Werribe West rail and the $40 MILLION funding for the east-west tunnel? Your statement is simply not true.

  • Cryss says: (Edit)

    so excuse my ignorance here, and I'm not at all trying to be dismissive as I haven't been invloved significantly wih the MTag efforts to date. But what has changed? I rode from Yarraville to Seddon earlier today, trucks trucks trucks ... no end of trucks, we were doing some gardening early evening .... trucks trucks trucks ... I'm sitting here in my lounge and what can I hear? TRUCK TRUCKS TRUCKS .... in 3 years I can honestly say I haven't seen a reduction in the volume of traffic, the local governement Liberal or Labour, don't care, the truck drivers, don't care, local industry, doesn't care. Letters on desks don't work .. action works, Off/On Ramps, interested in your interpretation that making use of a traffic light crossing is illegal. As for videoing trucks being the safer more legal option, I would like to remind you that two weeks ago my partner took ONE photo of a truck with his camera phone and the driver pulled over and ran after him, threatening him with violence. Peter/On-Off Ramps - Whilst I apprecaite your concern, I don't think it is us residents who are dangerous, these truck drivers are reckless and have no concerns for peoples safety.

  • adam says: (Edit)

    so excuse my ignorance here, and I’m not at all trying to be dismissive as I haven’t been involved significantly with the MTag efforts to date. But what has changed?
    A few drivers have advised that trucks are now required to install devices that restrict the outflow of dangerous exhaust emissions.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Well nothing's going to happen overnight but after 3 years working hard on this I can say that things are finally 'in play'... another thing that has changed: truck bans in central Footscray. And don't get me wrong, I'm not defending the current situation...

  • Cryss says: (Edit)

    Suffice to say I think MTag have a few more supportes that would be interested in playing a more active role in moving Truck traffic off our roads. It would be great to know when the next meeting is being held and hopefully we can rallly up some interest in a 'peaceful' demonstration/blockade of Francis Street.

  • Steve says: (Edit)

    Ok I am outraged, disgusted, appalled (yes im censoring my profanities) when I read the following Paul May 13 2009 / 9am From today’s Herald Sun: “The Brumby Government also failed to snare federal funding for stage 1 of its Truck Action Plan to drive heavy transport out of the inner-western suburbs." Thank you Paul for the information. I just can’t believe that. I too attended the Information Session at VUT with great optimism as I spoke to the various Vicroads reps and thought yes finally somethings going to happen. Stage 1 was a priority i was told!!!! Now I sit at my computer and work and feel like grabbing my monitor walking outside the building and piffing it at the first truck I see. Actually I'll be waiting for a while, you know why because the city has next to no semi trailers running up and down and polluting and making loud noise. And if they did have as many as we do down francis st and willi road, protest groups would march up to parliament stopping every intersection in its path and demand they get out. So back to action...blockade, letters, petitions, sychronised stomping our feet with angry faces, however you want to do it... count me in..Keep me posted people... "give peace (and quiet of those damn loud smelly trucks) a chance" Brumby!!! Actually more then a chance...Make it So!!!

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Hold fire guys... I spoke to Marsha Thomson today. She assures me that the Brumby Government is determined to build the ramps whatever it takes. Planning is continuing unabated and schedule for start is unchanged. We have a couple of meetings in the next few weeks. Will keep everyone informed. Have to take this at face value for the time being.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Hasten to add... I'll be the first to support blockades and whatever else it takes if we have been dudded, but if they don't intend to build these ramps then they have the perfect 'out' now. They could just say, "not our fault it was those damn feds," the fact that they are not saying it is heartening... but I am an irrational optimist.

  • Cryss says: (Edit)

    I feel invogorated, maybe it's the chill running through my house with no walls (literally, we are mid renovations and have just ripped the entire back end off our home). Keep us posted Peter, you have an energised bunch of protestors/supporters ready and waiting for their missions!

  • dylan says: (Edit)

    Hi Peter, If you are meeting with Marsha Thomson or Vicroads can you please ask about the inclusion of Moore St and Whitehall St (north) on the Principal Freight Network and the long term implications of this for residents on these streets? I am still waiting for some more correspondence on the issue but that latest I got justified the inclusion of Whitehall St on the network. Also as said above, it would be great to try and do something about curfew breakers or the definition of local truck traffic in order to decrease traffic on Francis St and Sommerville Rd. However, unless this traffic can somehow be made to take the freeway network it is just going to end up on another residential street. The recently released traffic counts suggest that this has happened already (big increases in curfew hours traffic on Buckley St and Moore St ). cheers, dylan

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Yes, good thoughts Dylan, will do. We were also asked by the VicRoads study team to put together a list of concerns expressed to us by residents regarding the ramps and of course your issue was included.

  • adam says: (Edit)

    The project is definately still progressing. Whilst MTAG and many supporters seem engrossed in ensuring this project proceeds, everyone seems to be ignoring the growing likelihood that this project will INCREASE the number of trucks AND traffic using LOCAL YARRAVILLE streets to access the port and the city (i.e. throughfare). You can ask VicRoads directly, tap@vicroads.vic.gov.au The other major concern, is when running traffic flow micro-simulation to determine the final alignment, they actually ASSUME truck curfews work! Clearly, they do not.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Curfews don't work at the moment because they are not well designed. Most trucks using Francis St (for instance) after curfew hours are not breaking the curfew, it's just that the curfew definition of 'local truck' is too broad. This will change (is changing, more news on that soon). The ramps project will not increase trucks using local streets, truck traffic is going to increase no matter what, the ramps will give trucks an alternative route to Francis St and Somerville Rd.

  • adam says: (Edit)

    >The ramps project will not increase trucks using local streets, truck traffic is going to increase no matter what, the ramps will give trucks an alternative route to Francis St and Somerville Rd. Based on MTAG assumptions.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    We base what we're saying on the opinions of a range of people who know what they're talking about and on the research that's been conducted. The people on the MTAG committee have put a lot of time, thought, reading, and bloody hard work in on these issues over the last three years. One of our members has been working on the issue since 2001. So they're not just assumptions pulled out of thin air. But of course you'd know better wouldn't you??

  • adam says: (Edit)

    Despite zero traffic simulation modelling and zero knowledge of final ramp/associated road alignment, you feel that only MTAG's opinion is valid!?! >The people on the MTAG committee have put a lot of time, thought, reading, and bloody hard work in on these issues over the last three years. Are they involved in the decision making process? Are they involved in the engineering design process? Are they involved with the traffic simulation studies? Do they understand the weightings applied to environmental variables used in the modelling? Do they work for VicRoads? They are a dedicated committee, making a range of ASSUMPTIONS. >One of our members has been working on the issue since 2001. That is irrelevent. The ramps were proposed in November, less than a year ago. The impact of the ramps in 2001, was not considered. >But of course you’d know better wouldn’t you?? My point, which you failed to grasp, is that MTAG are assuming one thing, yet its very likely that the road alignment will differ SIGNIFICANTLY from whats public knowledge. And the measures used to prevent trucks using ALTERNATE local streets will be easily permeated. But, to answer your question, I doubt it. Nice attempt at a cheapshot though. I suppose just because the RBA say the recession is over you believe them too. What makes you so CERTAIN that truck traffic using Yarraville streets will decrease? Don't spew Government propaganda; Understand the proposed alignments and the proposed measures of traffic control - and then you'll realise the potential problems, should particular alignments be selected.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Adam-Despite zero traffic simulation modelling and zero knowledge of final ramp/associated road alignment, you feel that only MTAG’s opinion is valid!?! Bill-No, there's nothing here to suggest that. It's just that you have a habit of coming across so self righteous that it tends to have the effect of turning people off. Your use of capitals in your posts is tiresome too. Do you realise that capitals denote a 'raised voice'? Adam-(The people on the MTAG committee have put a lot of time, thought, reading, and bloody hard work in on these issues over the last three years.) Are they involved in the decision making process? Are they involved in the engineering design process? Are they involved with the traffic simulation studies? Do they understand the weightings applied to environmental variables used in the modelling? Do they work for VicRoads? They are a dedicated committee, making a range of ASSUMPTIONS. Bill-Thanks for yelling at me again Adam. To answer your point: we are doing our best to be constructive and to feed into the discussions around this proposal, which you yourself have admitted in earlier posts makes sense. The ramps will produce the best outcome for the vast majority of people. Their alignment and implementation is something we are working hard to influence, and VicRoads and the government are listening. Your concerns, as well as those of others, have been fed directly into these discussions. So while you yell at MTAG in this forum, we are out there working to try to get good outcomes for you and everyone else. Adam-(One of our members has been working on the issue since 2001.) That is irrelevent. The ramps were proposed in November, less than a year ago. The impact of the ramps in 2001, was not considered. Bill-That's only in your not so humble opinion Adam. Actually knowledge of the history of this problem is incredibly important in thinking about the range of possible solutions. Adam-(But of course you’d know better wouldn’t you??) My point, which you failed to grasp, is that MTAG are assuming one thing, yet its very likely that the road alignment will differ SIGNIFICANTLY from whats public knowledge. And the measures used to prevent trucks using ALTERNATE local streets will be easily permeated. Bill-Says who Adam? I don't 'fail to grasp' anything here. I understand where you're coming from perfectly. You're worried about the impact of this project on your home. And fair enough. As others on this forum have pointed out to you before, trucks will not use Hyde St north to get from the ramps to the port. Adam-But, to answer your question, I doubt it. Nice attempt at a cheapshot though. I suppose just because the RBA say the recession is over you believe them too. Bill-Do I? You're pretty good at making assumptions too it seems. Adam-What makes you so CERTAIN that truck traffic using Yarraville streets will decrease? Don’t spew Government propaganda; Understand the proposed alignments and the proposed measures of traffic control - and then you’ll realise the potential problems, should particular alignments be selected. Bill-Oh yes MTAG spews government propaganda. You're pretty good at making cheap shots too. The irony is that only a matter of months ago the government was accusing us of being a Greens front. We can't win.

  • adam says: (Edit)

    [all caps lock removed except MTAG - not intended to be a shout] >you have a habit of coming across so self righteous that it tends to have the effect of turning people off Makes no difference what you or anyone from MTAG thinks of me. >So while you yell at MTAG in this forum, we are out there working to try to get good outcomes for you and everyone else I am well aware of MTAG's involvement. There are more people besides MTAG working on this issue. >Actually knowledge of the history of this problem is incredibly important in thinking about the range of possible solutions. Martin, Peter etc have done a wonderful job. No denying that. Your refusal to accept that the opinions and/or knowledge of others holds no merit is my issue. >Do I? You’re pretty good at making assumptions too it seems. Yer, probably wasn't fair of me. Sorry. >You’re worried about the impact of this project on your home I no longer live in the area.... >We can’t win Trust me, I know the feeling.

  • dylan says: (Edit)

    I am interested in the change in "local truck" definitions mentioned by Bill above. What will be done to ensure that trucks that are no long allowed to use Francis/Sommerville at night will not just use Footscray streets and Geelong Rd instead? As I mentioned above Moore and Buckley St traffic has increased dramatically in the last few years.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    We've just had it confirmed that trucks entering and exiting Francis St west of Cemetery Rd are not 'local' trucks. This affects Chalmers and Maersk container trucks. In particular, when Chalmers moves their yard, they will no longer be able to use Francis St during curfew hours, and that's going to mean a lot fewer trucks. They won't be pushed up into Footscray they will use Westgate Freeway. Then when ramps are built they will use the freeway then ramp to get to port. It's a small win but it will help. Footscray also needs to be completely re-examined as far as curfews goes. It's a ridiculous situation.

  • Luke says: (Edit)

    Peter, What was the outcome of the meetings with the state government? "Hold fire guys… I spoke to Marsha Thomson today. She assures me that the Brumby Government is determined to build the ramps whatever it takes. Planning is continuing unabated and schedule for start is unchanged. We have a couple of meetings in the next few weeks. Will keep everyone informed. Have to take this at face value for the time being."

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    We got a firm assurance that the ramps will be built with or without federal funding. More soon...

  • dylan says: (Edit)

    Hi Peter, Sorry to say but I have noticed some Chalmers trucks on Whitehall St going to Moore St in just the last little while at night. I don't recall seeing them much if at all before. I assume they are taking Whitehall and Moore to Geelong road rather than the Westgate. I take it they have accepted the ban on Francis St?

  • Dr John Tully says: (Edit)

    As a long time Yarraville resident (here before most of the trucks), I too am pleased that trucks will be diverted from out streets. Mtag should be congratulated by the way, not just the politicians who finally listened. One thing that might be worth looking at is the proposed cycle path which will link the existing Federation Trail at Millers Road with Williamstown Road. This is a great idea, but it really should be extended from there to link up with the Bayside Trail along the Yarra. Whatever plans are made for the slip road off the freeway should also bear in mind the need to link up these bicycle paths. People will be aware of the pressing reasons to extend our off-road cycle network. Cheers, John

  • Mr Somerville Rd says: (Edit)

    I have also taken photos of trucks using the roads illegally during curfew. The trick to avoiding a confrontation is to take the photo while travelling the opposite direction. Trucks physically can't do U-turns on Francis St or Somerville Rd. One time I was walking my dog (a Sunday) and the driver stopped and jumped down, then quickly got back in his cab when he realised that accosting somone bigger than you who also has a dog isn't smart. Ha Ha

  • Mr Somerville Rd says: (Edit)

    Hey what about a toll on trucks using Francis St or Somerville Rd?

  • Jimmyd says: (Edit)

    No off ramp = all deals off. Back to closing streets, lets do it again

  • AaronC says: (Edit)

    Does anyone have any updates on this. Jimmyd is that a random comment or has something been updated officially? I have been emailing Taimor Hazou at Vic roads and getting nothing, not even a reply. I need to know if Vic roads are going to tear my house down over this in Thomas St and the announcement was meant to be September. My house is currently going into disrepair, while I await confirmation that my property will or won't be acquired.

  • CMAC says: (Edit)

    Just got back from meeting hosted by Taimor and Charlie (Vic Roads) at the MCC offices. Very informative. As I understood it VR report will be with the minister early next 2010 for consideration. Project is jointly funded with the Feds and there has been no allocation of $ yet. Once VR report has been considered the results will be published and methodology for planning decided. Public comment will be invited. Don't buy / sell until the government commits. Suggest you get to the next info session. May I suggest that you lobby for the exit ramps to sweep further south of Stoney Ck and WGate. This will force the acquisition of the disused tank farm (for more public space) and reduce the impact on the salt marsh. Note that VR engineers were explicitly told to avoid private land in their designs. I believe that there is no cost analysis for this modification despite their stated aim of 'better public amenity'. Even they admit their dwgs are 'diagrammatic only' and the ramps will demand greater sweep than what they have illustrated. Try and raise it with them.

  • AaronC says: (Edit)

    Thanks for the update. Of the proposals Taimor showed me at the July meeting he did mention that the Thomas St option was the last option in the list as there was a lot involved as far as tearing down houses and factories, plus getting it through the middle of the golf course and the park on the otherside of the train line, as opposed to pushing the ramps as tight as possible to the Westgate Freeway & Bridge. It was also mentioned that if the ramp does go down along the drain behind KFC and the industrial side of Thomas St, there would be noise walls put in which I do see as a slight positive as there is nothing there now at all. I guess I will have to wait and see early 2010 and see if hopeful visions turn into realities.

  • steve says: (Edit)

    hi all havent heard anything on the front yet this year...any progress or has this been swept under the rug steve

  • James says: (Edit)

    An interesting point raised by The Age yesterday: "So far, the Brumby government has committed $40 million to the truck plan, with $21 million of it to widen key Yarraville arterial roads. But if the West Gate on-ramps are never built because the money can't be found, this widening could ultimately backfire, by funnelling more trucks into the area." Is MTAG supporting this Stage One widening and compulsory acquisition of houses ahead of the full funding for the ramps? What guarantees are there for residents that we won't end up with bigger roads and more trucks as a result of this? I MTAG should only support this first stage if full funding is secured.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Good point, not sure of answer here

  • James says: (Edit)

    Hmm, that's a worry. Anyone got any idea of the new governemtns stance on the off ramps?