Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tunnel project might not see the light of day


THE toll tunnel centrepiece of Sir Rod Eddington's $20 billion vision for better links across Melbourne is in trouble, with road builders and operators shying away from big projects.

ConnectEast, which operates the EastLink tollway, yesterday confirmed it had its hands full making its new Ringwood-to-Frankston tollway a success.

EastLink traffic volumes and revenue are well below forecasts, with shareholders believed to be unenthusiastic about ambitious new ventures. Chairman Tony Shepherd made this clear at the annual meeting last week and said again yesterday: "ConnectEast is a single-purpose entity, and at this point we are solely focused on establishing EastLink's operational systems and on growing our traffic levels. We have no plans to invest in another road."

Transurban, which runs CityLink, has slashed job numbers in Melbourne and mapped out a debt-averse future. Under new chief executive Chris Lynch, the once active road builder will consider only "sure things".

While Transurban has not ruled out a bid for an east-west toll road, insiders told The Age the company had no intention of pursuing new Melbourne projects in the near future.

The credit squeeze has tightened dramatically since Sir Rod's report earlier this year in which he recommended a tollway beginning in Clifton Hill and ending in Footscray.

Read the original article at

Certainly what we like to see in the paper, but hey... I'm not relaxing until there's a fat lady singing. I would also hope that the State Government would listen to other reasons why the tunnel should not go ahead, so that if they can get funding, where that money would be better spent.

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