Transurban released a reference design for the Western Distributor project in July this year. Prior to the release of the reference design Council provided in principal support for the Western Distributor long tunnel option but noted that additional measures would be needed to prevent increase of traffic on residential streets in Footscray and Yarraville.
Pending detailed studies of the Environmental Effects Statement the additional measures were noted as a required minimum for the preferred option to be effective:
1. Truck bans on Francis Street, Sommerville Road, Buckley Street and Moore Street
2. Federation trail to be provided as a continuous off-road shared path
3. A grade-separated cycling connection across Moreland Road to safely manage the increased cycling and vehicular traffic at this location
4. Review of traffic signals throughout the municipality to deter toll avoidance and through traffic and to promote public transport, walking and cycling
5. Road space redesign and reallocation on major roads in the south-eastern part of the municipality (i.e. east of Geelong Road) to deter toll avoidance and through traffic and to promote public transport, walking and cycling
6. Making the Hyde Street ramps available for placard trucks only
7. Ensure the toll structure is set so that cars exiting at Hyde Street pay the same toll as those exiting at the city, to prevent the Hyde Street exit being used for toll minimisation
The reference design phase is expected to continue until early 2017 and includes the submission and evaluation of tenders and the preparation of an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) for public display.
Council continue to play an active role in advocating for the best possible outcome for our community through representation on both the Technical Reference Group and Community Liaison Group. Council has also provided direct input to the drafting of the EES and has written to the Minister requesting:
1. The Western Distributor Environmental Effects Statement Technical Reference Group scope a Footscray traffic study to quantify the likely effects of truck traffic in residential Footscray, specifically modeling the before/after impacts to Buckley St and Moore St Footscray, resulting from the project; and
2. Recommendations of the Footscray truck traffic study are included into the Environmental Effects Statement report for public consultation.