Western Highway Upgrade
The Western Highway is characterised by aged and rural-standard freeway infrastructure in critical need of upgrade to urban freeway standard from Melton to Deer Park.
In the lead up to the Federal election, we sought a commitment from the major parties to fund the upgrade of the Western Highway to urban freeway standard, within the City of Melton as part of the National Growth Area Alliance's Catch Up Campaign. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition.
The Western Freeway is the major road between Melbourne and Adelaide, providing for major freight transport both interstate and regionally. It carries the second most freight of any national highway, yet the Melton section of this major road is clearly sub-standard.
The section of the Western Freeway in the City of Melton is a major transport corridor for residents to access education, employment and leisure activities.
The freeway requires improvements including:
- an interchange at Bulmans Road
- an interchange at Mt Cottrell Road
- a pedestrian overpass bridge at Arnolds Creek
- removal of at grade access to the freeway
- an overpass at Paynes Road, and
- an interchange at Harkness Road.
Why we need it
The Western Highway, within the City of Melton, currently accommodates approximately 60,000 vehicles per day.* This is projected to increase to 86,000 vehicles by 2021 and 113,000 by 2031.**
Approximately 10 per cent of vehicles on the Western Highway are trucks that service the Central Highlands and Wimmera South Mallee regions, as well as the Adelaide freight route providing a significant contribution to the economy. Time lost in congestion has major implications for productivity.
Planning approval for seven additional residential suburbs directly adjacent to the Western Highway will see the construction of 65,900 new dwellings and an estimated 183,500 residents. A further five Precinct Structure Plans are yet to be prepared which are expected to include more than 30,000 dwellings, housing an additional 78,000 people. This additional growth will place further burden on the Western Highway, resulting in significant increases in congestion.
Additional lanes and upgraded interchanges are needed to support the booming growth in population and maintain efficient freight movements in and out of Melbourne.
The Western Highway is not equipped to cope with the projected growth and requires State and Federal investment to plan, design and construct a modern urban freeway.
* VicRoads OpenData
** Melton City Council – VITM Data
- Improved access to employment opportunities in regions with limited public transport connections
- Improved access to developing industrial and employment precincts including Mt Atkinson, where 19,000 jobs are estimated to be created
- Decreased congestion—with lost time and productivity estimated to cost Australia up to $53 billion per annum by 2031 (Infrastructure Australia)
- Improved access to key regional centres including Ballarat, Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, and major tourism centres in Hepburn, the goldfields and Grampians National Park
- Improved freight access to Adelaide, country Victoria, and the proposed Western Interstate Freight Terminal (WIFT)
- Increased commercial investment leading to more local jobs
- Improved access and liveability, attracting new home owners and investors
- Improved access to essential services including health and allied services, and education
- Improved health and wellbeing for residents who will spend less time travelling to and from work, and be better placed to participate in leisure and recreational activities
- Improved road safety
Council calls on both the State and Federal Governments to fund the upgrade of the Western Freeway within the City of Melton to an urban freeway standard. Through the construction of overpasses and interchanges, road safety within this section of the Western Freeway will be greatly enhanced, for the benefit of both existing road users and future populations within the fast growing Western Growth Corridor.