Cautious support for preferred Westlink Tunnel route

October 12, 2010 12 Comments

PRESS RELEASE

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) offers cautious support for preferred Westlink Tunnel route provided it is accompanied by strict truck curfews and other measures

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group has cautiously welcomed the announcement of the preferred route for the Westlink Tunnel. “The government appears to have listened to community concerns by choosing the longer, more expensive route thus largely avoiding residential areas” said spokesperson, Peter Knight.

MTAG still has concerns about the project however and insists that it will only be effective at taking trucks off the streets of the inner west if trucks are forced to use it and if measures are taken to ensure it doesn’t get clogged with commuter traffic.

“The most important consideration is the framing and implementation of truck bans,” said Peter Knight.” Once the tunnel and the Westgate ramps are built there is no reason why any truck without a local origin or destination should be using our streets, yet experience suggests that unless bans are placed and rigorously enforced truck drivers often ignore preferred routes. Without bans, the tunnel and the Westgate on/off ramps will be much less effective.”

Peter Knight restated the importance of the Westgate on/off ramps saying despite the announcement of Westlink they must remain a priority. “Westlink must not be considered an alternative to the Westgate on/off ramps. Westlink can really help with traffic problems in Footscray and but will not do anything to get trucks off the streets of Yarraville. We still need those ramps built.”

MTAG has also emphasised the need for commensurate investment in public transport. “The tunnel is going to cost a lot of money, we need reassurance that this money is not going to sucked from public transport projects that would otherwise service the west. If it is then the tunnel will quickly clog with commuter traffic and will be useless as an efficient route for trucks accessing the port,” said Mr Knight.

Lastly, MTAG raises the issue of the ventilation stacks. “We need to make sure that this is high on the list of priorities. There are going to be a lot of trucks using this tunnel, the last thing we want is the pollution to be concentrated in a vent stack and pumped out into the suburbs. We need the stacks to employ world’s best scrubbing technology and to be placed away from residential areas.”

Contact Peter Knight 0409 797 852

12 responses to "Cautious support for preferred Westlink Tunnel route"

  • Sarah Peters says: (Edit)

    They should adopt a system like the Dublin Port Tunnel whereby commuter traffic is discouraged by higher tolls than the trucks.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Interesting idea. We have exactly the opposite here. Do you have any more info on this? Please come to meeting tomorrow night (13/10) Less Trucks for Moore, it's publicised on this site

  • Lisa says: (Edit)

    News of the longer tunnel is great news. My concern is the enforcement of the truck curfew. I live on Williamstown Rd and the curfew is constantly violated by Cement Australia trucks, and of course endless semi trailers carrying containers.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    There's no curfew on Williamstown Rd to my knowledge

  • Shane says: (Edit)

    More talk of these awful on and off Ramps having to be built. These are merely band aid solutions and will destroy what little green space the West has. Interesting to read Friends of Stoney Creeks opinion of the Ramps:- http://geocities.ws/stonyck/rampsstatement.pdf

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Here's the opening para of Friends of Stony Creek's statement Shane mentions and I'm afraid it's just wrong. They base their arguments on our sketches?? You've got to be kidding! These are not 'plans and models.' I'm told that many people in Friends of Stony Creek are quite happy with what 's actually being proposed because the reserve will NOT be destroyed. And MOST importantly the health of thousands of children will be improved. Francis St has the highest levels of diesel pollution measured on any road in Australia and residents are three times more likely to have asthma than other Melbourne residents. The Friends of Stony Creek statement does not address this at all, I guess the people who wrote it don't have kids living near Francis St of going to school in Somerville Rd. Out of sight out of mind it seems. Anyway here's the statement. "According to plans and models provided by the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG), two two-lane off ramps would be built through the middle of the Hyde Street Reserve. Plans show two elevated roadways running off the Westgate Bridge into Hyde Street Reserve, joining into a four-lane ramp running on top of Stony Creek before joining Hyde Street south of Francis Street. Building these ramps would completely destroy the environmental, cultural, community and recreational values of Hyde Street Reserve."

  • Shane says: (Edit)

    I dont believe for a second any friends of Stony Creek would be happy with these ramps being built. Only a small number of very vocal residence like yourself who are directly affected would be happy to see these huge ramps built. Bill you are looking at these ramps on a plan and they look small and insignificant but in reality they will be huge and will need to run for hundreds of meters to get from Hyde st to the freeway. Construction equipment will destroy 8 years of hard work from Friends of Stony Creek. Trees will need to be removed from parkland. Currently there is a number of different birdlife I see, these will dissapear if a truck freeway is built here. Any future waterfront development on the Spotswood side will be less attractive to developers if a truck freeway is built on its doorstep. These areas will remain industrial wastelands. The impact and carry on effect of these ramps is huge and not thought through by people like yourself. Do you think the pollution just goes away if the trucks are removed from your doorstep? The noise and pollution of the trucks at a higher level will be worse for residence living either side of the bridge. This proposal is so narrow minded and typical of a government not equiped to manage an expanding city.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    I've been personally told by members of friends of stony creek that while they'd prefer the ramps weren't built they can see why it's happening, that it needs to happen and that the plan proposed is actually a good outcome. And FYI no one on the mtag committee is directly affected by trucks. Ironic isn't it? We work in these issues because the injustice of the current situation is so great and because we are generally concerned about children breathing diesel fumes while they sit in their classrooms, Childcare centres, homes... I think it's amazing that you are so convinced everyone else is wrong but you. Mtag, the greens, labor, Maribyrnong council... Sure the solution is not perfect but it will bring enormous benefits

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Actually the fact is that no one on the MTAG committee is directly affected by truck traffic - we do the work because it needs to be done because we all want to contribute to the community more generally. I totally acknowledge your concerns but we really don't think that the impacts you predict will be as devastating as you describe and see it as an opportunity to secure a whole lot of funding for Hyde St Reserve and the potential for opening it up to people in a way that it never has been. If you read any of the literature on pollution you will recognise the benefits this project will bring - I'm not going to do a review here though. And btw there are members of Friends of Stony Creek who acknowledge that this is not a bad outcome. Even if they'd rather the ramps weren't built they can see why they are necessary.

  • preceptor says: (Edit)

    Regardless of whether it is practical or achievable, the source of all these problems still remain. Shipping and freight needs to be relocated away from the port areas. All of the millions which will be spent on ramps, tunnels etc should be put used to remove the cause of the problems, the port.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    So you should spend money on something regardless of whether it's practical or achievable...? Interesting! Well you'll never get MTAG signing up for that one. We're all about what's practical and achievable. We are actually about action. Did you come to the protest?

  • Anonymous says: (Edit)

    I personally think the tunnel is a great idea, especially if there is incentive for the trucks to use it over general communters (i.e. making tolls less for trucks). However, not much seems to be happening in the meantime. My advice would be to fine the trucks if they are caught on the roads outside of the curfew times. I also read somewhere that noise levels are being recorded for each truck and if that truck exceeds the regular noise levels it is reported. Not sure how true that is? As a Yarraville resident I am very keen and supportive of any projects that will just get the trucks off the road. But from what I have seen and read, not a lot has happened over the last 10 years and it's time to crack the whip!