Some reasons why the Rod Eddington-proposed east-west road tunnel makes no sense:
2. Even including the rather wobbly “wider economic benefits” only got it up to 72 cents. (Only by lumping in other projects including the rail tunnel with the road tunnel were they able to get a result that was anywhere near economically viable.)
In short, anybody with any hint of economic rationalism in them should reject the road tunnel as unviable.
3. People seem to think it’s just a problem with cars coming from the big road (Eastern Freeway) onto the little one (Elliot Avenue/Macarthur Rd, through Parkville), as if all the cars are headed from freeway to freeway. They’re not of course.
The photo above shows Alexandra Parade eastbound on a Saturday. Those three clogged lanes of traffic didn’t come from the one lane through Parkville. Eddington’s tunnel wouldn’t fix this, because under his plan, it wouldn’t have interchanges anywhere near there:
there are sound operational, functional and strategic reasons for this section to act as a northern city bypass, and city access ramps have not been included. — Chapter 9
And if it was modified so it did have interchanges, it would devastate large areas of Melbourne’s prime inner-northern suburbs, due to the massive amounts of land required.
4. And the westbound traffic? The Northern Central City Corridor Study showed that most traffic from the Eastern Freeway is heading to the city and inner suburbs, only about 10% heads across town to the Tullamarine Freeway/Citylink or further west. (See below)
Upgrading circumferential public transport (including, but certainly not limited to implementing the scrapped Blue Orbital Smartbus, and higher-frequency services right across Melbourne to make more non-CBD point-to-point trips easier by PT) would help cater for cross-city travel more efficiently.
5. You don’t fix traffic by building road capacity. It doesn’t work. It never works, due to induced traffic: once increased road capacity makes it easier to drive, people do so, by making more trips or moving trips from other modes.
The net result? Billions spent creating more traffic.
6. The claims of a “backup to the Westgate bridge” don’t stand up. Footscray Road, Dynon Road and Smithfield Road together provide six lanes each way across the Maribyrnong River (one more lane each way than the Westgate). They don’t work as a backup because they have their own traffic to deal with. It would be the same with a new tunnel.
It could only ever work as a “backup” if it is kept closed and unused until the Westgate is blocked. Which is not the way multi-billion-dollar pieces of infrastructure are generally used.
7. One reason Eddington’s study wanted more roads was that it assumed public transport use would not grow strongly:
In 2031, the daily number of public transport passenger trips is predicted to be around 1.4 million
In reality, it reached that level in 2010. The last thing you’d want to do is undermine that by mass building of new road capacity that would encourage people back into cars.
- Myth: A continuous freeway network will eliminate bottlenecks
- Herald Sun: Premier Ted Baillieu wants $640m for transport projects — The Premier has revived the controversial 18km road link from the Eastern Freeway to CityLink to the Western Ring Road.
- The Age: Libs ramp up priority for freeway
- The Age opinion: Stopping all stations: Baillieu’s borrowed transport plan, which notes: The thinking is that the link would only be viable if it is a tollway with various access points into the city to induce the necessary traffic. As Labor found out, the politics of this are horrible. As a rough rule of thumb, every $1 billion of investment needs to generate about $100 million a year to get the private sector interested. That means a lot of extra cars in and around the city.