So, Eastlink is open. Whoop-de-do.
And even though it was meant to be the solution to eastern Melbourne’s traffic, it’s already clear it’s just moved the problems elsewhere:
Opposition leader Ted Baillieu said congestion on Eastlink could cause problems at both ends including at Hoddle Street and at the Frankston end at the Cranbourne Road intersection, which the government had not dealt with. — AAP
Even the RACV is saying the same thing, using it to ask for yet more roads to fix the problems caused by this one. Masterful! I mean, why did we bother?
As for the claimed $15 billion in economic benefits, that little myth is predicated on all sorts of false assumptions.
Normally I’d say that just like any other motorway, it’ll be chocka within 5-10 years, like all the others. And it may well be, with tollway operator ConnectEast happily pointing out in a corporate briefing on 13/6/2008 that: “Even if economic growth slows, many motorists don’t have much choice; they still have to drive … Certainly in the Eastlink corridor, there aren’t a lot of other options”.
But with Vicroads data showing rising petrol prices are reducing road demand, instead it may become a multi-billion dollar white elephant.
Over in the west, however, they’ve got the right idea: Huge rail expansion for Perth.
Cartoon: Ron Tandberg, The Age 11/11/2004