Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson has urged the North-East Link Authority, which is examining proposed corridor options for the ‘missing link’ in the M80 Ring Road around Melbourne, to prioritise the safe and seamless through-movement of heavy vehicles in design and planning for the road.
In his opening remarks to the Developing Greater Melbourne conference, Mr. Anderson said it was important that each of the four options being assessed contain innovative and creative design elements that cater to heavy vehicle drivers travelling between Melbourne’s south east and north, and who have no intention of using local roads in between.
“So many of the problems we have experienced on suburban roads in Melbourne’s north east are a result of there being no direct alternative for heavy vehicles wanting to get between the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink and on to the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough,” said Anderson.
“VicRoads’ traffic studies have verified most of those trucks are not doing local deliveries, which underscores the need for a future North-East Link to contain design and engineering elements that make it seamless and quicker for these vehicles to complete their journey.
“For example, dedicated freight lanes for trucks that do not require local road access, and other design and engineering methods that separate through-truck-traffic, would be a great solution for separating heavy vehicles from other road users, and helping them to complete their journey faster and safer.
“Heavy vehicle drivers will always use a bigger road where one is available because they are safer and more efficient. Dedicated freight lanes and other inducements to encourage trucks away from local roads are a no-brainer because they will reduce traffic congestion for all motorists, not just truck drivers,” he said.
Mr. Anderson’s remarks come as the North-East Link Authority will finalise its business case for the Victorian Government, which has committed to announcing a preferred corridor by the end of the year.
“While the VTA has previously expressed support for the 26-kilometer Option C corridor, our various consultations with stakeholders have helped us form the view that the inclusion of design elements that safely expedites the movement of freight is arguably more important than whatever corridor is selected,” said Anderson.