Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New orbital freeway plan for city

A CONTENTIOUS proposal to build the "missing link" in Melbourne's outer ring road network will be considered as part of a wider plan by the State Government to deal with Melbourne's transport chaos.

Premier John Brumby has confirmed that a freeway link through some of the city's most environmentally sensitive areas will be among a series of proposals considered in a far-reaching new transport plan.

By linking the Metropolitan Ring Road to the the EastLink tollway, the road would create a continuous "orbital" freeway of outer Melbourne, running about 100 kilometres from Altona in the west to Frankston in the south.

Two alternative routes will be looked at: a six-kilometre link from the Greensborough Highway to the Eastern Freeway, and a more ambitious 15-20 kilometre road from Greensborough to EastLink.

Motoring group the RACV said it expected the Government to provide "a strong commitment to the planning and implementation" of the new freeway.

But putting the project on the agenda would amount to a policy reversal by Labor, which has repeatedly promised not to build the missing link in the ring road since winning power in 1999.

In 2001, then transport minister Peter Batchelor told Parliament that any suggestion Labor would ever allow a freeway link between the Eastern Freeway and the ring road was "a fear campaign, a smear campaign".

Yesterday Mr Brumby confirmed that the ring road plan was among a range of potential projects other than those in Sir Rod Eddington's transport blueprint, released in April. "There have been a lot of other proposals about other things that we might do (including) outer ring roads," Mr Brumby said.

Among the main proposals from Sir Rod was a $9 billion freeway to link the Western Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway via a tunnel under Royal Park. However, it is believed Sir Rod was frustrated by his narrow brief, which looked only at the links between Melbourne's eastern and western suburbs...

Read the rest at http://www.theage.com.au/national/new-orbital-freeway-plan-for-city-20080707-34em.html

Who-da thunk it? Mr Brum-brum-brumby want's to build another road!

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