The Victorian Government has announced it will further progress Transurban’s market-let proposal to provide an alternate route to the West Gate Bridge, which includes the proposed Western Distributor.
The Western Distributor project was included in the submission, made to the State Government earlier this year under Victoria’s new Market-led Proposals Interim Guideline.
The Western Distributor is a proposed tunnel and elevated motorway that connects the West Gate Freeway with the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the CBD.
Transurban will now work with government through Stage 3 of the Western Distributor proposal, which is expected to take six months.
The announcement does not commit the parties to the project, however the Victorian Government will work with Transurban to develop a detailed proposal, investment case and procurement plan.
According to a statement from Transurban CEO, Scott Charlton, the Western Distributor proposal minimizes impacts on local communities and supports motorist and trucks looking for alternative connections to the city.
“It is a project that will evolve as we discuss potential transport solutions with the local community and work continues with the State Government,” he said in the statement.
The current proposal includes the Western Distributor, two additional lanes from the M80 Ring Road to the West Gate Bridge, and upgrades to Cook Street and the West Gate Freeway-to-Bolte Bridge ramp to improve safety and access from Webb Dock.
Transurban states that the current proposal would deliver 3500 construction jobs and 4500 indirect jobs.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the government’s announcement.
ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff said in a statement that an efficient link to Port of Melbourne is critical to coping with rising freight growth and a growing population in Melbourne’s west.”
“Over-reliance on the Westgate Bridge is resulting in congestion and delays. Melbourne’s western suburbs are the heartland of the city’s freight logistics industry, with many companies basing their operations in the region,” he said.