Planning approvals for the proposed West Gate Tunnel in Melbourne will be suspended after Liberals and Greens agreed to block Transurban’s $6.7 million proposal.
Earmarked to alleviate traffic congestion around the West Gate Bridge, the project would have connected the West Gate Freeway in Spotswood to Citylink in Docklands.
CEO of the Victorian Transport Association Peter Anderson said in a statement that it was a sad day for Victorians after the planning decision all but dashed optimism surrounding a second Yarra River crossing.
“The West Gate Bridge will not last forever,” Mr. Anderson said. “With the West Gate Tunnel, after 10 years of no major road construction in Victoria, we finally had a workable solution to congestion woes around the Port of Melbourne and an alternative to the West Gate Bridge.
“With over four million people, and our city forecast to become the nation’s biggest in a matter of years, we cannot afford to lose yet another major infrastructure project to partisan politics.”
The project was expected to create 6,000 new jobs with more than 150 jobs to be assigned to former workers in the auto industry. Among the proposed planning approvals were additional lanes in each direction on the West Gate Freeway located between the M80 Ring Road and Williamstown Road; dedicated ramps situated between the West Gate Freeway and Hyde Street for trucks carrying dangerous goods; a tunnel under Yarraville connecting the freeway with the Maribyrnong River; a new bridge over the river joining an elevated freeway; new cycling and walking paths.
This week’s vote in the Victorian Upper House forced a shutdown of major construction work on the West Gate Freeway and at the base of tunnel works in Yarraville.