Friday, 27 February 2015
West Gate distributor will not solve congestion for Geelong commuters
Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay in Parliament this week called on the Andrews Government to rethink its costly West Gate distributor project and build a second river crossing to ease congestion for Geelong commuters.
Mr Ramsay said the West Gate distributor is only a short-term fix to reduce truck traffic on the West Gate Bridge, and that a longer term solution is needed.
He questioned the validity of the Andrews Government’s infrastructure project given the lack of detail.
“The Andrews Government’s West Gate distributor is a bandaid solution to removing congestion from the West Gate Bridge and the West Gate Freeway, and there is a lack of detail on how it will actually achieve any real reduction in congestion.
“Indeed there is no evidence that it will in fact reduce 5 000 trucks a day from the bridge or where these trucks will be diverted but it will cost upwards of $500 million.
“The Coalition Government offered an alternative long-term solution to remove congestion in the proposed east–west link.
“The west link would significantly remove congestion on the bridge and even Treasurer Tim Pallas, said in 2012 “…it was imperative to proceed with the west link, a second river crossing to reduce dependence on the bridge”, and I concur with his statement.
“The West Gate Freeway opened in 1971 and the bridge was completed in 1978. Growth in vehicle movements across the bridge has increased by about 2.1 per cent annually.
“In 2008 there were 180 000 daily vehicle movements but by 2015 over 202 000 vehicles are crossing the bridge each day.
“There is no doubt we have a problem with the amount of traffic on the West Gate Bridge and the West Gate Freeway.
“Like every other motorist travelling to Melbourne from Geelong, I regularly get delayed on the freeway approaching the bridge for up to 55 minutes.
“Delays caused by traffic congestion on the West Gate Freeway and bridge are very unproductive and inefficient for small businesses, transport operators and commuters.
“Clearly, something needs to be done to alleviate this congestion and it should be a priority for the Andrews Government to build a second river crossing, as it was for the Coalition Government”, Mr Ramsay said.
Mr Ramsay said that despite calls from respected organisations like RACV, Lead West, Victorian Transport Association and Hobsons Bay City Council, the Andrews Government refuses to address the real problems of congestion on the West Gate Bridge and the freeway, or the vital need for a second river crossing.