Freeways, freeways, everywhere
Via Google’s archive of The Age, I found this, the 1969 freeway plan for Melbourne, with 1974 modifications (including a number of cuts).
It’s a little bit stylised, but according to the article, the plan was deliberately vague about which inner-suburban areas were to be demolished.
A monstrous plan, you might think. Freeways everywhere! But this didn’t all get built though, did it?
Oh yes it did. Well, most of it did — if not as freeways, then as road widening schemes (which also results in lots of houses being demolished, though not quite as many).
The northern section of the F2 got built as the Hume Freeway. It doesn’t extend down through Coburg, Clifton Hill and Richmond, but Hoddle Street has been steadily widened, and is Melbourne’s best-known traffic sewer, and they’re now talking about the possibility of grade-separating it, turning it into a pseudo-freeway.
I suspect the southern section of the F2 was intended to be Punt Road/Nepean Highway/South Road. Since then, much of that has been widened to 8 lanes plus service lanes, and as I recall, VicRoads still owns a row of houses along Punt Road for future widening. The outer-SE section is the suspiciously freeway-like South Road extension, and the Dingley Arterial, part of which is now under construction.
The F3 is the Western Ring Road.
F4 probably would have gone along Bell Street, much of which is now 6 lanes.
Part of the F5 has been built as the Northern Ring Road.
The northern part of the F6 hasn’t happened. The southern section is the Mornington Peninsula Freeway, and the Peninsula Link project (which last week bulldozed its way through part of the heritage-listed Westerfields estate).
The northern part of the F7 (or the F18) is still on the drawing board as the so-called “missing link”, to go through the Banyule Flats. (It’s “missing” because they went and built the rest of it, knowing that bit would be “missing”). The southern section would, I think, have included the very freeway-like Westall Road Extension.
The outer-eastern part of the F9 is the Healesville freeway, which was never built, but is still shown in the Melways as a proposed freeway launching itself from Springvale Road in Forest Hill, with a massive interchange with Eastlink in Wantirna. The inner section is the Citylink Burnley and Domain tunnels, as well as the Westgate Freeway.
The F12 looks to have been an upgrade of the Western Highway, but instead has morphed into the Deer Park bypass. The inner section was supposedly scrapped, but is back on the drawing board as “Westlink”, with today’s Age noting that it is the first stage of a larger road project first proposed by Sir Rod Eddington, that would ultimately join CityLink to the Eastern Freeway… which in turn will add to the pressure to build the “missing link”.
The F14 is the Tullamarine Freeway and Citylink in the northwest, and the Monash Freeway in the south. The middle bit would reflect the traffic sewer that is Kingsway, Queensway and Dandenong Road.
The F18 is the Greensborough Bypass/Highway.
The F19 is the Eastern Freeway, even including the little extra bit at the eastern end, the Ringwood bypass.
The F35 is Eastlink.
The F38 is the South Gippsland Freeway.
(Did I miss any? Did I mis-read the map?)
The article talks about a memo from then Country Roads Board boss Robert Donaldson, which notes:
…I believe we should go quietly on freeway matters at the moment, particularly inner area freeways.
And it talks about building all the outer-suburban ones, with the hope that:
they will create a public appetite for high-capacity roads to take traffic through inner-areas.
And that’s what they’ve done: built most of the outer-suburban freeways, and some of the inner ones, and the others have been done as road widening, so they’ve ended up as wide as freeways (but without the huge grade-separated interchanges, for the most part).
And after all this road building, there’s nary a traffic jam to be seen.