The Victorian Government has released the Western Distributor Project’s official reference design, which, alongside a Request For Tender, has been provided to three shortlisted construction consortiums to further develop their designs.

The Western Distributor Project will provide an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, taking thousands of trucks off local streets and the design includes a long tunnel option with the twin road tunnels beginning within a widened West Gate Freeway.

The release of reference design follows the incorporation of local residents’ feedback into the plan.

Under the reference design, local parkland will be protected to minimise any loss of open space to the community, with tenderers required to submit a tunnel design that has no permanent impact to Hyde Street Reserve.

The design of the Hyde Street ramps also responds directly to community feedback, ensuring that there will be minimal impact to nearby residents and community facilities.

The design’s ramps are immediately to the north and south, level to or lower than, and as close as possible to each side of the existing West Gate Freeway, with no flyovers – all key community preferences.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, “We’re building Melbourne’s long-overdue Second River Crossing – a true alternative to the West Gate Bridge that will slash congestion so Victorians can spend less time stuck in traffic on the M1.

“The Western Distributor will create 5,600 jobs, fully funded as part of our historic investment in transport infrastructure. The time for talk is over – we are getting these projects done.”

Tenderers are encouraged to propose innovative construction methods and use their expertise to improve the reference design. To better reflect the communities views in the design, tenderers have also been given reports on the feedback from consultation undertaken so far.

Impact assessments for the Environment Effects Statement (EES) will now get underway and will consider the reference design, and any variations proposed by the tenderers.

VIC Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said, “We’ve listened to the local community and we’ve worked to ensure their views are reflected in the reference design of the project.

“We will continue to talk with the local community throughout the next phase of the design process and the Environmental Effects Statement to ensure the project reflects their needs.”

Throughout the coming months, community information hubs and pop-ups will be held, and feedback will be provided to tenderers and specialists completing the impact assessments to further inform planning and design.

The contract to build the Western Distributor will be awarded in late 2017 with construction to start soon after.

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