MTAG meets with Minister Pallas: “Westgate truck ramps will be built”

June 22, 2009 12 Comments

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group Press Release.

Members of the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group have met with Minister for Roads and Ports, Tim Pallas, and have been given an assurance that despite no commitment of federal funds in this year’s budget that truck ramps (which form part of the Victorian Transport Plan) will be built. The creation of this truck route away from the residential areas of Francis Street and Somerville Road will bring relief to thousands of residents.”

This is great news for the inner west, a lot of people have been very concerned, since the release of the federal budget, that the project might not go ahead, but Minister Pallas told us that the Brumby Government is 100% committed to the project.

This is such an important project for residents in the inner west who have been suffering the effects of 20,000 trucks a day using residential streets to get to and from the port. The corner of Francis St and Williamstown Rd in Yarraville has the highest levels of diesel pollution yet recorded by the EPA and residents suffer from significantly higher asthma rates and other health issues. These ramps will go a long way to solving this problem… the Brumby Government has recognised the urgency of the situation and is taking responsibility for fixing it. It’s great news.

Planning for the project is moving forward and VicRoads will be holding community consultation forums shortly as it canvasses options for the alignment of the ramps.

MTAG urges the community to get involved in this stage of the project by attending the forums and contributing ideas.

on-off-ramps-overview

12 responses to "MTAG meets with Minister Pallas: “Westgate truck ramps will be built""

  • Cynical says: (Edit)

    Great news for the West though I struggle to understand how these ramps will be built without federal funding...

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    In the end it's a State Government responsibility. The problem has got the point to which it is now at (absolutely disastrous) because of State neglect. If they can get Federal funding then all the better... if not then we will be holding them to their commitment in the lead up to the next State election.

  • Emily says: (Edit)

    According to VicRoads, the community consultation forums are supposed to be held in late July, although there is no firm date yet that's been circulated to residents. If you're interested in putting your opinion forward, it would be a very good idea to register your interest with Taimor Hazou, the VicRoads Communications Advisor for the project, to make sure that you're kept in the loop (tap@roads.vic.gov.au). It's important to shift the trucks from Francis and Somerville Rd, but it's also essential that there isn't a naive assumption that these ramps won't funnel more traffic (car and truck) down residential sections of Hyde St and past a popular park, primary school and kindergarten. In the enthusiasm to support these ramps, MTAG must keep strongly advocating for these residents too. MTAG has access to decision-makers that residents simply can't get, despite letter writing or attendance at forums. The current ban on trucks using Hyde St (north of Francis) isn't respected, so why wouldn't there be a substantial increase in truck traffic along this section of Hyde St unless there are effective (physical) obstructions? Without adequate budget, it is likely that adequate enforcement of truck bans will be the very area to be neglected.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Hi Emily Rest assured there is no 'naive' assuming going on here. We have been in discussions with Vic Roads about what measures will be taken to ensure that trucks do not use Hyde St north of Francis. We are pushing for physical traffic calming measures that will ensure that it is not possible for trucks to enter Hyde St.

  • Emily says: (Edit)

    Thanks Peter, I appreciate that reassurance. I was more concerned that there would be some strategic blindness on the part of VicRoads and the Dept. of Transport to the issue, and we'd end up with a 'sign' or a token 'ban'. It is increases in car and truck traffic that I'm concerned about, so traffic slowing/calming is really important. There's also an opportunity here to transform Hyde (north of Francis) into a major route for cyclists and pedestrians, who may not be too keen to use the 'new' off-road path along Whitehall once it's an even busier truck route.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Everyone shares your concern and I agree it's a great opportunity for transformation. The thing Vic Roads is balancing is the need for emergency access but I'm sure that can be solved. My feeling is that they are committed to doing this properly and they are making all the right noises... hopefully the public info sessions on the options they are considering will be useful.

  • adam says: (Edit)

    >We are pushing for physical traffic calming measures that will ensure that it is not possible for trucks to enter Hyde St. Basic modelling using VISUM shows that some traffic measure at the Francis Street/Hyde Street intersection is mandatory. Assuming cars and trucks, can use this route it could be reasonably estimated that 60,000 vehicles will use this route per day, in addition to traffic originating from Spotswood, Newport and Williamstown. A 'calming' measure is simply not enough. Whilst Eddingtons proposed alignment was IMHO wrong, he was correct in presenting a 'restraint' measure. Quite simply, the south and north sections of Hyde Street need to be disconnected. However, I agree with Emily's premise that the lack of funding will result in a very poor result. >There’s also an opportunity here to transform Hyde (north of Francis) into a major route for cyclists and pedestrians, who may not be too keen to use the ‘new’ off-road path along Whitehall once it’s an even busier truck route. This is actually being built now. Universal Concrete Contractors are constructing a $700k bike path, along the eastern side of Hyde Street.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Good ideas... Not sure about the 60,000 vehicles a day figure especially given the Westgate Freeway upgrade that will be finished before the ramps. I think it's important that we lobby for cars to not be allowed to use the route at least during peak hours. Any thoughts on that??

  • adam says: (Edit)

    >Not sure about the 60,000 vehicles a day figure especially given the Westgate Freeway upgrade that will be finished before the ramps. When you consider - 1) between now and 2020 the number of trucks will increase 1000 per year 2) by completion of the ramps approx. 200,000 vehicles will use the Westgate daily 3) the ramps carry traffic previously using Francis Street/Somerville Road plus a percentage of those previously using the Westgate. 4) container trade will quadruple within 20 years. The estimate is reasonable (at least for 2020/2030). The actual figure does not change any of the previous thoughts. >I think it’s important that we lobby for cars to not be allowed to use the route at least during peak hours. Any thoughts on that?? The ban on cars using the road is a necessary requirement, although IMHO unlikely event. The biggest problem with allowing standard vehicles is that the actual benefit to the transport industry will be completely negated by the bottleneck which will form at Napier/Whitehall. The benefit of a truck-only route include efficiency gains, economic factors, improved safety etc. Additionally traffic flow on the Westgate will improve markedly with a reduction in heavy vehicles. Obviously emergency vehicles and buses would be exempt. I am keen firstly, to see whom is awarded the design contract and secondly a proposed timeline.

  • dylan says: (Edit)

    Again don't forget it is not just Hyde St residents but Whitehall St residents that have a lot to loose from poorly implemented ramps. Not only might the Whitehall/Napier intersection *become* a bottleneck, it already *is* one now during peak hour. Every day I see trucks come up past my house then do a U-turn to go back down to turn left onto Footscray Rd instead. The trouble is Vicroads does not see Whitehall St as a residential street worth keeping trucks off as they have repeatedly made it clear to me in our correspondence. They have put it on the "Principal Freight Network" and justify the decision based on the current and future needs of freight. We are not one of the high profile residential streets and don't have enough residents to make a real difference politically so I guess that is the reason.

  • Adrian says: (Edit)

    Hello Peter, I live on Hyde Street, south of Francis Street. I am all for improving conditions for the majority of Yarraville residents and the greater good, however, its clear that the ramps will negetively effect my family and I in some way i.e. either property aquisition or a great big dirty truck superhighway running past my front door. Has the government given you any indication of what the impact will be to the residents on Hyde Street south of Francis street? Thanks Adrian

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Best to direct those questions to Vicroads or local members, we have no more info than anyone else. Good news is that Vicroads has announced public info sessions for next month: 13 and 14 July 6-8pm Croatian House 72 Whitehall St 17 July 1-3 MCC Hyde & Napier