Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Core sampling for the Metro tunnel

Well, with all of the talk of the State Government putting their hand up for some Infrastructure Australia cash, it seems that they're doing some digging of their own to see what's what.

Last year, when the Brumby Government was looking at the potential of the first stage of the Metro tunnel going though (from South Kensington, to Domain) there was some cash to, yes, create a report.  I'm not sure if this is part of that report, or something subsequent to that, but it's core sample time!

This is the first carpark next to South Kensington Station.  If they were to follow the previous plan, they would likely be digging an open tunnel up until around this point, where it should be deep enough to continue its journey downwards into a fully-fledged tunnel, under the continuation of Childers Street and the properties thereon.

Of course, to tunnel there, it's actually best if it's some type of rock.  Counterintuitively, if it's nice soft stuff, it can cause problems with it collapsing, and after construction, the tunnel could actually 'float' and push its way skyward, which would require counterweighting measures etc. etc.

Now, seeing how that prior to being a park, the JJ Holland area was largely a swamp - it'll be interesting to see what they find.

In any case - not sure if this is just that previous project, or if this is any sort of indication to the next step for some tunnel plans.  Perhaps, they thought they should finish the last one before they can get the money for the next? ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

City of Melbourne improvements continue

The works on the old sports pavillion have commenced. This was part of the original plan for the redevelopment of the sporting areas, and removal of the car park. This should be quite beneficial to the sporting teams who use the park - although it is a bit of a nuisance in the meantime.

Another nuisance is the works going on in the carpark area between the Kensington Community Children's Co-op, and the soccer field. This is being re-aligned to allow for a car turn-around at the end, as well as better access to the KCCC. (Why this wasn't done previously, we'll never know, but it's good that it's getting done, all the same).

Thankyou City of Melbourne for your continued improvements of JJ Holland Park.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Libs ramp up priority for freeway - TheAge

Based on the last post, I could see this coming. A bit more today, in The Age.

A CONTROVERSIAL freeway through inner Melbourne and a new underground rail line have again topped the state's wish list for funding from Canberra, with the Baillieu government saying it wants to proceed with a series of major transport projects first proposed by Labor.

The government today will unveil its submission to the federal government's advisory body Infrastructure Australia. It marks the first release of the Coalition's transport proposals since coming to office last November.

However, the submission does not say when any of the projects detailed would be built, or what they would ultimately cost. Premier Ted Baillieu said yesterday he did not want to make these predictions until more planning had been done.

The government has backed an 18-kilometre ''inner urban freeway'' that would link the Eastern Freeway in Clifton Hill to the Western Ring Road in Sunshine. The freeway would travel via CityLink and the Port of Melbourne. It is based on a plan put forward by Sir Rod Eddington in 2008 in a report for the Brumby government. Sir Rod is now chairman of Infrastructure Australia.

This freeway plan was partially adopted by Mr Brumby's government later in 2008, when it announced plans for WestLink, a $2.5 billion tunnel linking the inner west to the port.

Public transport advocates attacked the road tunnel plan, which has been in limbo since Labor's defeat last year, saying it would only add to road congestion.

Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt vowed to fight ''tooth and nail'' to stop the freeway gaining money from Canberra. State Labor MP Richard Wynne - whose electorate the freeway would slice through - also attacked the idea. ''When Eddington first looked at this freeway, it was neither economically or environmentally sustainable. It's the same today,'' he said.

But the government's submission to Canberra argues booming traffic on the West Gate Bridge and Hoddle Street means the project is now justified. It has requested $30 million to fund a two-year planning study. ''This is a once-in-a-generation project that would transform the way people move around Melbourne,'' Mr Baillieu said.

The government's submission says the private sector may help fund construction of the freeway, raising the possibility it may be a toll road.

The submission also puts a new rail tunnel under inner Melbourne back on the agenda. Labor's 2008 blueprint detailed a plan for a 17-kilometre track from Footscray to Caulfield via Parkville, with its first stage to cost $4.5 billion. Its future was put in doubt after the election but the Baillieu government is now seeking a further $130 million for pre-construction work. While the new proposal follows much the same route as Labor's plan, it will stretch only nine kilometres...

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/libs-ramp-up-priority-for-freeway-20111116-1njco.html#ixzz1du7EHKrg

Note that there's little detail about the route, and therefore what could be at risk. The previous government had categorically said that JJ Holland Park was safe. With the prospect of the car tunnel on the agenda, I suppose it depends upon its route and how they intend to create it.

Even the more recent plans for the rail tunnel showed that the park would be safe.

For both of these, however, there's the potential disruptions to the surrounding areas during construction to think about. With the train tunnel, I'd personally view that as a short-term pain, for long-term gain. With the car tunnel, as with other roads built to 'save' the city from traffic, I believe it will fill up with traffic, just like the others, and make any arterial which its exit ramps spill onto, even worse. The 'booming traffic on the Westgate and Hoddle Street' is the product of the Monash Freeway works, and EastLink, respectively. The tunnel would certainly help through-traffic, but usage patterns show the vast majority of users would be getting on/off at some point near the city. And most of them are commuters. And many of them are driving because of the poor/non-existant public transport options.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good mornin'

It's been some time since I've seen balloons launching from JJ Holland Park. Perhaps I just haven't been waking early enough. But, it was a very pleasant way to greet the day. Well, pleasant until I saw this.

INFRASTRUCTURE consultant Sir Rod Eddington yesterday urged the Baillieu Government to build an east-west toll road under the city.

Sir Rod said the tunnel, which he proposed in 2008, should be the priority for this state.

"It would be a project that the private sector would very definitely be interested in participating in," he said.

"That means, rather like the Domain and Burnley tunnels, it would be a tolled facility."

Sir Rod, chairman of federal government advisory group Infrastructure Australia, told the previous state government in a report that Melbourne needed a tunnel linking the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road.

Speaking yesterday at a Committee for Melbourne event, the businessman said governments needed private sector support to deal with traffic congestion.

"We have demonstrated here that good toll roads work and we should build more of them," Sir Rod explained.


Number 1 priority? I think priorities numbered 1 through 26 inclusive should revolve around our rail system. Getting more cars off the roads is the single best thing you can do to aid with traffic flow. Also removing the level crossings and providing grade separation between rail and road. Fix up the existing network (switching, timetabling). Create new lines to service Melbourne's sprawl, instead of expecting the overloaded road system to be able to handle it.

None of that is easy. It would take a lot of time, and a lot of disruption. But in the end, it is an investment in our city, instead of another band-aid stop-gap measure of yet another freeway (sorry, tolled road link) which would become a car park and/or further choke any areas serviced by its off-ramps.

But now, I think I'm going to go and enjoy the sunshine.