As part of the Federal Government’s $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund, it has announced plans to invest over $260 million in 14 projects designed to ease congestion on Melbourne’s road network.
$140 million has been put towards alleviating congestion north and south of the city.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding was aimed at shortening travel time for motorists in Frankston and surrounding Bayside areas, as well as those commuting north of the city.
He said it was clear “how much pressure congestion is putting on Bayside families and businesses, given how quickly that area of Melbourne is growing”.
Of these funds, $30 million has been dedicated to upgrading Ballarto Road — a key east-west arterial that experiences significant congestion, and carries up to 12,000 vehicles a day. The project will include intersection upgrades to reduce congestion and allow traffic to enter the main roads safely from residential streets.
The most congested section of the Calder Freeway — 23.3 km from Sunbury to the M80 Ring Road — will receive a $50 million boost. A further $50 million will target the expected massive increase in peak hour traffic on parts of the Hume Freeway.
In 2011, 2500 vehicles travelled on the Hume during peak hour periods, expected to jump to 4300 by 2031. The Fitzsimons Lane and Main Road corridor in Eltham will also receive $10 million to tackle congested sections.
In order to tackle congestion east and south-east of Melbourne, the Federal Government will also inject a further $121 million in transport infrastructure, bringing the total to $261.3 million.
This includes $68 million in park and ride facilities at six locations, and more than 1500 new car spaces aimed at removing pinch points and bottlenecks.
$37.8 million will be allocated to intersection upgrades, including traffic lights and widening works. $13 million will be injected into highway upgrade and improvement works.
Estimates put the cost of congestion in Australia’s capital cities at $25 billion per year, projected to reach $40 billion by 2030.
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge, said he had lived most of his life in the outer suburbs of Melbourne so had seen firsthand why congestion in Melbourne in now rated worse than Sydney.
“Our Urban Congestion Fund is helping to deliver a more reliable road network for Melbourne commuters and freight, and support critical access to employment centres and freight hubs.
Mr Tudge said major urban infrastructure projects already underway across Melbourne included the M80 Ring Road and Monash Freeway upgrades, the $140 million Victorian Congestion Package, the North East Link, and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, and builds on our work that is already busting congestion including the CityLink Tulla Widening project.
“The Urban Congestion Fund will deliver a more reliable road network for commuters and freight, and support critical access to employment centres and freight hubs,” Mr Tudge said.