Transurban and the Government of Victoria have awarded construction contracts to CPB Contractors and John Holland to jointly build and manage Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel.
Costing around AU$5.5bn, construction is set to begin next year and will be finished in time for a 2022 opening, providing an alternative Yarra River crossing to the West Gate Bridge.
Transurban CEO Scott Charlton said: “Developing effective road transport options such as the West Gate Tunnel Project together with public transport and active transport modes are essential for any modern city looking to foster growth and liveability into the future.”
Design and construction works include widening the West Gate Freeway from eight lanes to 12 between the M80 Ring Road and Williamstown Road; a 2.8km eastbound tunnel and 4km westbound tunnel under Yarraville; a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River; an elevated road along Footscray Road to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the city’s north; and major new cycling and pedestrian paths.
The awarding of contracts is a major breakthrough for a project that has been subject to scrutiny over the course of the year.
In particular, there has been debate as to whether it will help ease traffic congestion. Transurban says it will take around 28,000 vehicles off the West Gate Bridge and 22,000 off the Bolte Bridge every day and improve travel times by up to 20 minutes for drivers.
However, a study conducted by Melbourne City Council said the new road system could result in a bottleneck of traffic flowing into the northern parts of the city which will cause rush hour to last between 12 and 14 hours.
Further details on the project can be found at: www.westgatetunnelproject.vic.gov.au.