Following a US$9.9M feasibility study, Victoria’s State Government has revealed the preferred route for Melbourne’s US$2.75bn WestLink Road Tunnel, which sees the longest of the three original options – 3.5km of twin bore – adopted to minimize construction impact on the local community. The preferred longer tunnel option received ‘overwhelming community support’ during the recent public consultation period, according to a government statement.
The tunnel route, between the western ports area and Paramount Rd, West Footscray, is not 100% finalized and work is still needed to fix the final alignment, tunnel dimensions and depth, which will be undertaken during the next phase of the project which starts now. The construction method of the tunnel, that will pass through saturated silts on it’s eastern extreme as it passes under the Maribyrnong River and basalts, clays and silts to the west, is yet to be determined.
“Geotechnical testing conducted over the past few months will help us determine the most suitable alignment for the tunnel,” a recent report by the State Government said, “ a final recommendation on WestLink is not expected to be made until the middle of next year when we release the final planning study to the community. This will be followed by a formal exhibition and independent assessment process to achieve project approval.”
Construction has a start date at the earliest of 2013, but this depends on Federal Government support for funding.
Roads Minister, Tim Pallas said, “We’re seeking Federal Government funding for WestLink because of its nation building capacity.”
The WestLink road project has been designed to alleviate severe traffic congestion in Melbourne’s western suburbs, and allow the area greater connectivity with the rest of the state capital, and is part of Melbourne’s State Government’s US$38bn, 2010 transport plan update.