Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, to announce that the Western Distributor – an innovative new road project proposed by Transurban – has progressed to Stage Three of the Government’s Market-led Proposals Guideline.
The Transurban proposal would connect the West Gate Freeway to CityLink via a tunnel, a second river crossing and an elevated freeway along Footscray Road, and would relieve pressure on the West Gate Bridge, improve truck access to the Port of Melbourne and significantly reduce truck numbers in the inner west.
Transurban estimates that the project would generate 3,500 new construction jobs, cost $5-5.5 billion and have a cost benefit ratio of 1.6. If agreed to by the Government, it would start at the end of this year and be completed by 2020.
The new proposal is being assessed by the Department of Treasury and Finance and reviewed by external consultants. The assessment process to date has been reviewed by an independent panel of Dr Kerry Schott and Tony Canavan, who support the Stage Two assessment findings and the recommendation to proceed to Stage Three.
The Panel notes that the proposal has the potential to add strong long-term strategic value to Melbourne’s future. The proposal will be assessed against other Government plans, including the West Gate Distributor.
The Department of Treasury and Finance will undertake a thorough assessment of the project through the Stage Three process. The Government will then decide whether to proceed with Transurban’s proposal, modify it, or opt for another option.
The Government’s consideration of this proposal will be predicated on the Victorian taxpayer getting value for money.
The Andrews Labor Government promised to be open and transparent on all new projects, and the project is being disclosed as a requirement of progression under the new Market-led Proposal Interim Guideline.
Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews
“The Government recognises and appreciates the effort Transurban has gone to in bringing forward this final proposal. The Government will now consider it seriously and in accordance with the Market-led Proposal Interim Guideline.”
“Building a direct link to the Port of Melbourne and a tunnel alternative to the West Gate Bridge would cut travel times for workers and businesses across Victoria.”
Quotes attributable to Treasurer of Victoria, Tim Pallas
“We promised to be open and transparent on all new projects. Our rigorous guidelines mean this proposal can be properly and fairly assessed.”