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