It’s easy when looking at aerial pictures to see the vast amounts of land taken up by freeway interchanges.
(Pic: Google Maps)
What is sometimes forgotten is the impact at ground level from elevated roadways. Here are some snaps from around South Melbourne — which of course being inner-city, has some of the most valuable land in the country.
I suppose there’s a certain grace to the roadway structures themselves, but underneath it’s certainly not pretty.
It really does seem that the only use for the land underneath roadways is parking — mostly for cars, but some for trucks/hire companies.
I only saw one exception: McDonalds seemed to be the only other business willing to be located underneath the freeway.
Of course, elevated railway bridges also have an impact at ground level. But the carrying capacity for the space taken is much higher with rail, and “interchanges” (eg stations) don’t have the huge footprint, as humans alighting trains don’t need the big turning circles found on freeway interchanges.
East West Link
It’s important to note that while some is proposed to be tunnels, a big aspect of East West Link is elevated roadways. Both the western and eastern sections will involve new elevated sections. The Clifton Hill interchange will involve connections up high above the railway line, and the interchange from the eastern section to Citylink includes elevated roads — infamously surrounding the newly built Evo apartments, as well as from a tunnel portal in the middle of Royal Park. The new elevated sections won’t be just at the interchange itself, but also providing an expansion of lanes along the existing Citylink in both directions — north and south.
That is, of course, if it’s ever built.
I’m told that the expansion will take the northern end of Citylink near Bell Street up to a total of fourteen lanes. Maybe one day we’ll stop pretending that motorways are an efficient form of transport for big cities.