Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has signed off on the rigorous Environmental Effects Statement for the Andrews Labor Government’s landmark Metro Tunnel Project.
The $10.9 billion Metro Tunnel will give three of the busiest train lines their own tunnel through the CBD, freeing up space in the City Loop to run more trains, more often to the suburbs and regional Victoria.
As a result of the EES, 119 fewer trees will be lost, Fawkner Park will no longer be used for the project and property acquisition in Kensington has been reduced from 22 to one.
The Minister has also requested further action from the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority to minimise impacts on the community, businesses and surrounding heritage.
The MMRA is also required to set up new stakeholder groups along the alignment to work with communities during construction of the $10.9 billion project.
A business disruption plan, a traffic and transport work group and new guidelines for construction noise levels have also been requested in the final EES.
The draft EES was released earlier this year for consultation and 379 submissions were received. Submissions focused on noise and vibration from tunnelling, changes to traffic and transport, loss of trees, impacts on open space, heritage and the impact on communities and businesses around the works.
An independent committee sat for 33 days between August and October, hearing from 115 parties, before making recommendations to the minister.
The independent EES Panel assessed proposals to build a deeper Domain Station and determined that the shallow station provides the greatest benefit for the 40,000 passengers who will use the station each day.
Now the EES has been finalised, planning controls can be put in place for the project to go ahead.
The minister received the panel’s report on November 21 and it has been released within 25 business days, in line with the Environmental Effects Act.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“The Metro Tunnel is the biggest Victorian infrastructure project since the city loop was built in the 1980s and it will generate decades of benefit to public transport users.”
“While there will be significant impacts over the construction period, plans will be in place to minimise the disruptions and we will keep working with the community along the way.”