EES released for West Gate Tunnel

Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has signed off on the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) for Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel, making a number of recommendations for the landmark project.Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has signed off on the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) for Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel, making a number of recommendations for the landmark project.

Mr. Wynne’s assessment recommends Wurundjeri Way be lowered and V/Line stabling yards be relocated to maximise the potential of the future E-Gate urban renewal precinct, as well as improve cycling and pedestrian connections between Docklands and North Melbourne.

The Western Distributor Authority had already proposed to plant three trees for every tree removed by the project, but Mr. Wynne recommends that ratio rise to five trees. That will mean a total of 4,000 advanced trees are planted, as well as 13,500 tubestock trees.

The Minister’s assessment also recommends a group of houses on Hyde Street be acquired — a move supported by residents, due to their proximity to the project. Part of their properties are already reserved for acquisition, and the assessment supports their view that their homes should be acquired.

Mr Wynne also welcomed the announcement during the EES hearings that the government will work with residents on Millers Road, Brooklyn to further reduce noise, such as the installation of double glazing to homes.

The assessment proposes a noise wall along the full length of future open space in Altona North, protecting the community from adverse noise and visual impacts. This is in addition to the new noise walls announced during the EES hearings, which will protect existing open space reserves along the West Gate Freeway.

Mr Wynne also makes recommendations to ensure the health and safety of motorists in the tunnels, but he accepts the EPA’s submission that the filtration of tunnel ventilation emissions will do little to improve local air quality, and proposes that they are not included.

However, he has recommended that the construction of the ventilation stacks does not preclude the introduction of this technology in the future.

The Minister has asked for further investigation of how to best manage traffic issues in North and West Melbourne and prepare plans for a linear reserve along the Moonee Ponds Creek between Dynon and Footscray Roads.

These two studies will form part of a broader strategy to develop E-Gate and surrounds.

He has also asked that VicRoads finalise its Traffic Noise Reduction Policy to ensure Victoria’s road projects continue to set a high standard.

The Minister’s assessment of the West Gate Tunnel project EES can be found at: www.planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/

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