Melbourne’s State Government has released it’s $38bn, 2010 transport plan update, which includes details of three tunnelled route options for the new $2.8bn WestLink road tunnel and the preferred route of the $4.5bn Metropolitan Rail Tunnel Stage 1, that includes five underground stations. Funding though, for the huge infrastructure developments, has yet to be secured.
“This is the biggest expansion of the rail network since the City Loop – and the biggest transport project since EastLink – and there is no doubt that we’re expecting extremely strong bids for the major construction packages,” Mr John Brumby, Victoria’s Premier said.
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. A $10m feasibility study has narrowed the route options down to three tunnel alignments under the Maribyrnong River linking the Port of Melbourne with Footscray. Two of the options see the road in very similar 2km long tunnels, but one of these involves unpopular compulsory home purchase orders. The third, and seemingly most likely option, will see the road placed in a 3.5km long tunnel beginning in the Port of Melbourne and finishing on the Paramount Road, avoiding residential zones.
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Melbourne’s Metro Rail Project Stage 1 is a major new twin rail tunnel between Dynon in the west and St Kilda Road near Domain. With proposed underground stops connecting to Melbourne Central and Flinders Street, it will give people from all lines an easy interchange point to access new stations in North Melbourne, Parkville, and St Kilda Road. This will help relieve pressure on trams in Swanston Street and St Kilda Road. If funding is secured, it has been said that construction could start as soon as 2012.
For an animation of the four large scale infrastructure projects planned for Melbourne cut and paste this link into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvy63Vj5oYE&feature=player_embedded