Works have begun for the $5.5 billion Western Distributor, with a dedicated new link for trucks to access the Bolte Bridge removing the need to merge or weave through traffic on the West Gate Freeway.
Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan today announced geotechnical work on the project that will support the new $1.6 billion international container terminal at Webb Dock and reduce the risk of truck roll-overs.
Widening of Cook Street in Port Melbourne will also improve traffic flow and safety for motorists and trucks travelling between West Gate Freeway and the Bolte Bridge.
The project is being built in conjunction with the CityLink Tulla Widening project and Port of Melbourne capacity improvements to minimise disruption to the community.
The Western Distributor works will be delivered by Leighton Contractors for Transurban and VicRoads, and includes:
- Widening of Cook Street from one to two lanes eastbound from Todd Road to the West Gate Freeway (in addition to the Port funded widening to two lanes westbound)
- Creating a separate carriageway on the north side of the West Gate Freeway to provide direct access to the Bolte Bridge
- A new on-ramp to the Bolte Bridge from Cook St that will be flatter, longer and with less curve to reduce the risk of truck roll-overs that can cause the entire freeway to grind to a halt.
Design work is well underway with major construction to begin next year, with completion in 2018.
It is the first section of the $5.5 billion Western Distributor that provides a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge and includes widening of the West Gate Freeway and the Monash Freeway Upgrade.
When completed the Western Distributor will deliver travel time savings of up to 20 minutes a day, take 6,000 trucks off the West Gate Bridge, and create 5,600 new jobs.
The project will put an end to trucks rat-running through inner west streets to access the Port, with existing truck curfews on local roads to be extended once construction has been completed.