The West Gate Tunnel Project is a city-shaping project that will deliver a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge, provide quicker and safer journeys, and remove thousands of trucks off residential streets.

The West Gate Freeway will be widened and include express lanes between the M80 and the West Gate Bridge, reducing weaving and merging that leads to traffic congestion.

A tunnel from the West Gate Freeway to the Maribyrnong River and the Port of Melbourne will take motorists and trucks underground and off residential streets, providing a more efficient freight route.

A bridge over the Maribyrnong River, linking to an elevated road along Footscray Road will get people to where they need to go in the CBD north.

State-of-the-art smart technology will be installed across the length of the project linking it to other freeway management systems across the city.

It will also add 14 kilometres of walking and cycling paths for a continuous journey from Werribee to the city.

For more information, view the West Gate Tunnel Project page.

A builder for the project has been selected but the contract will not be awarded until later this year, after the planning approvals for the project are confirmed.

There is now a confirmed design and builder for the project. Next we will be taking this design through the Environment Effects Statement planning process.

The EES assesses the potential effects of the design, its construction and operation, and gives everyone the chance to have a say.

Our team is working to incorporate the preferred design into the EES. It then needs to be approved by the Minister for Planning before being publicly exhibited in mid-2017.

The project will not require the compulsory acquisition of homes.

If the tunnels pass under property, the land underground will be acquired by the Victorian Government. This is called ‘strata acquisition’ and it does not affect your ownership of land at the surface.

There is a limited number of commercial and industrial property acquisition along the project alignment. We have been in contact with all potentially affected businesses and land owners to discuss the acquisition process, which can begin later this year following the EES planning approvals process.

All acquisition will be managed by the Victorian Government in accordance with the relevant legislation.

We want to continue engaging with communities and councils on the design and as we move through the Environment Effects Statement (EES) planning approvals process.

The EES will provide a formal opportunity to make a submission on the design, construction and operation of the Western Distributor.

You can find out more and stay involved in many different ways:

There is now a confirmed design however this is subject to approvals through the Environment Effects Statement planning process.

Three interrelated projects provide a transport solution that will streamline traffic from Geelong to Pakenham: The West Gate Tunnel Project, Webb Dock Access Improvements and the Monash Freeway Upgrade.

The Monash Freeway Upgrade will add more than 30 kilometres of new freeway lanes to the Monash Freeway. This includes widening the road from four to five lanes between EastLink and the South Gippsland Freeway, and from two to three lanes between the South Gippsland Freeway and Clyde Road in Berwick.

Widening works will ease congestion and reduce travel times for Victorian drivers. Extra lanes and smart roadside technologies will mean safer, smoother journeys.

Other improvements include:
• Ramp signals added from Chadstone to Pakenham, to prevent stop-start driving conditions and dangerous sudden braking. Entry ramps will be widened to accommodate more vehicles
• Lane Use Management Signs (LUMS) installed along the corridor to improve traffic flow by providing drivers with information in the event of an incident
• Bridges and structures from EastLink to Clyde Road will be upgraded to be wider and to carry the additional lanes, providing long-term reliability for the freeway. Additionally, lighting at various interchanges will be improved.

The final cost is expected to be approximately $400 million.

The advice by road experts is that the combination of an extra lane and smart technology is the best way to manage growth and get the best value out of our existing freeways.

The Hallam Bypass section was always designed and planned to allow for a third lane when needed – and that’s what we are doing now.

A managed motorway controls the flow and entry of vehicles onto the freeway to keep traffic moving and minimise delays.

Ramp signals right along the Monash out to Pakenham will keep the freeway flowing smoothly by controlling traffic entering the freeway. This will prevent traffic ‘shockwaves’ up and down the M1 that make driving frustrating and dangerous.

This will be the longest stretch of managed roadway in Australia – and it means from Werribee to Pakenham traffic can be managed to keep the M1 flowing.

The widening will mainly occur in the existing centre median on both sides of the freeway.

The current number of lanes will be open during peak times and construction will be staged to avoid major disruption to motorists.

The addition of one lane to an existing major freeway is not expected to noticeably increase traffic noise, except for in one location at Heatherton Road. A noise assessment of the Monash improvements found the predicted change in noise levels would be negligible.

The noise assessment showed that one area of the freeway adjacent to the Heatherton Road outbound exit ramp will exceed the noise standard (of 68dB (A)) so a new section of noise wall will be built there as part of the Upgrade works.

More information on noise modelling and management for the Monash Freeway Upgrade here

The Upgrade is contained within the existing freeway reserve and a preliminary assessment found no significant habitat for any species of national or state conservation significance.

Strict environmental management measures will be in place to ensure that construction noise, dust, drainage and other community impacts are minimised as much as possible.

No. The upgraded section of the Monash Freeway will remain toll free.

There are a number of planned construction projects that the contractor will be taking into consideration when designing the Monash Freeway Upgrade program. These include some bridge strengthening works, VicRoads routine maintenance and level crossing removal works on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines. In each instance, the contractor will work closely with stakeholders to determine the scope of any planned works, and what impacts, if any, they will have on drivers or the community. Advanced notice of any disruptions will be provided using the following channels:

  • variable message signs on the freeway and local roads
  • letters delivered to local residents
  • advertisements in local newspapers and on radio
  • information on websites including this site and VicRoads
  • notices on social media including @WestGateTunnel and @VicTraffic Twitter accounts
  • email notifications to stakeholders and road user groups.

Usage of the Monash Freeway follows different patterns all along its length. For example, in the past decade the number of cars using the Hallam Bypass has increased by 50 per cent. The freeway is busiest between the EastLink and the South Gippsland Freeway.

The MFU is accordingly focused on a 44 kilometre stretch between Chadstone and Pakenham, from Warrigal Road to Koo Wee Rup Road. The priority sections of the freeway, which are most in need of added capacity, are EastLink Interchange to South Gippsland Freeway, and South Gippsland Freeway to Clyde Road. They are being widened to meet current and projected demand.

Beyond the widening works, new and upgraded roadway technology will manage traffic flow to ensure more reliable conditions, especially at peak times.

In construction zones on the freeway, the speed limit will be dropped to 80km/h for the safety of drivers and workers. Construction zones will have a maximum distance of 7km. When travelling this distance at a speed of 80km/h compared to 100km/h, the difference in travel time is 63 seconds. We are grateful for this minute of your time to ensure a safer environment for our workers and your fellow drivers.

With any large road project, some delays are unavoidable. During the course of the Monash Freeway Upgrade, the current number of lanes will remain open during peak times and construction will be staged to avoid major disruption to road users.

Some additional lane, freeway or ramp closures will be required throughout the course of the project. The travelling public will be given advance notice of any major impacts.

The lanes will all be added within the existing reserve and the current centre median between the carriageways. This means that the freeway will not be widened any closer to residents or businesses along the corridor. In order to increase storage of ramps to accommodate more vehicles for the ramp signals, some ramps are to be widened.

The Monash Freeway Upgrade is expected to start later this year and be finished in 2018.

You can find out more about the construction program and any localised changes on the CityLink Tulla Widening Project website.

VicRoads is widening Cook Street from one to two lanes in each direction between Todd Road and the West Gate Freeway.

These works complement Port of Melbourne capacity improvements, providing better links between the Port and key freight routes and directing trucks away from residential streets.

Together with the West Gate Tunnel Project and Webb Dock Access works, the Cook Street widening provides a network solution to Melbourne’s growing freight volumes.

Transurban and VicRoads are coordinating the works to reduce impacts to road users and nearby businesses and communities.

These works are being delivered together with the CityLink Tulla Widening Project, with construction contractor, CPB Contractors.

Initial works commenced in late 2015, and major construction ramped up in June 2016. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.

The Webb Dock access improvements will:

  • provide a quicker and more efficient route for freight that is not affected by traffic conditions on the West Gate Freeway
  • reduce weaving and merging on the West Gate Freeway which can contribute to traffic flow break down and create congestion
  • improve safety on the Bolte Bridge entry ramp, reducing the risk of truck roll overs and associated costly traffic delays which are felt right across the freeway network
  • improve access and safety between the West Gate Freeway and the Bolte Bridge.

Webb Dock Access improvements works include:

  • an upgraded and signalisedCook St/Salmon St intersection
  • a new ramp connecting the West Gate Freeway and Bolte Bridge with a gentler curve to reduce the risk of truck roll overs
  • a new lane from Cook St to the Bolte Bridge ramp to provide direct access to freight heading north
  • a longer and wider exit ramp providing more capacity to enable ramp metering
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