Key features include:
- Widening the West Gate Freeway from 8 to 12 lanes between the M80 and Williamstown Road
- A tunnel under Yarraville and a second river crossing over the Maribyrnong
- An elevated road along Footscray Road with direct links to the Port of Melbourne
- The longest managed motorway system in Australia from Geelong to Pakenham
- 4.5km of new cycling and pedestrian paths including completion of the Federation Trail
- Widening the Monash Freeway from 8 to 10 lanes between EastLink and South Gippsland Highway, and from 4 to 6 lanes to Clyde Road in Berwick
The Victorian Government states that the project will create 5,600 new jobs, provide a much-needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge, remove thousands of trucks from local streets, and deliver an $11 billion boost to Victoria's economy.
The Victorian Government estimates that the Western Distributor will deliver immediate time savings of up to 20 minutes a day.
The Victorian Government states that key benefits include:
- An alternative to the West Gate Bridge with a second river crossing
- Daily peak time travel times from the west slashed by up to 20 minutes
- 5,600 new jobs created at the peak of construction
- Up to 75% of trucks off Francis Street and Somerville Road
- 6,000 fewer trucks on the West Gate Bridge
- 6,000 fewer trucks on local streets in the inner west
- Completion of the Federation Trail for cyclists
- $35 million a year savings for truck operators
- Up to 50% time savings for trucks to the Port of Melbourne
- $11 billion boost to the Victorian economy
- Up to 55 fewer serious crashes a year
- Extension of smart technology to extend Australia's largest managed freeway network
- Improved access to the city
- 2.3 million tonnes less vehicle emissions.
LeadWest's current view is that the project can put an end to trucks rat-running through streets in residential areas Melbourne's inner west to get to the Port of Melbourne, but only with local roads assigned aopropriate truck curfews once construction is completed.
The Victorian Government received a market-led proposal for the Western Distributor from Transurban, operator of CityLink, in March 2015.
The Victorian Government has assessed the proposal and prepared a businesscase (PDF 10170.06 KB) that shows a conservative benefit cost ratio of 1.3.
The Victorian Government will now progress the project through exclusive negotiations with Transurban as part of Stage 4 of the State's Market-led Proposals Guideline.
The Victorian Government's reference business case has been submitted to the Australian Government and Infrastructure Australia for assessment and funding consideration.
The final scope and design will be confirmed in consultation with the community, local government and industry during a comprehensive planning process to be undertaken during 2016.
The project will be delivered in three distinct parts:
- Expressions of Interest for the Monash Freeway Upgrade will be invited from the construction industry in coming weeks with construction to begin in 2016 and completion in 2018
- Design and early works will start immediately on a new link to provide direct truck access from Webb Dock to CityLink, with completion in early 2018
- Construction on the Western Distributor will start in 2018 with the full project to be completed by 2022.
The project will be funded through a combination of tolling on the Western Distributor, an extension to Transurban's CityLink concession and contributons from the Australian Government and Victorian Government.