Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel is announced

For a long time is has been apparent that Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge is filling up. The city’s answer to Sydney’s harbour bridge (ok, not quite) is the main road link from Melbourne’s Central Business District to the western suburbs. Melbourne’s western suburbs are currently experiencing a boom, with the populations swelling in places like Point Cook, Tarneit, Hoppers Crossing and Truganina. All of these will feed into a planned satellite city at Werribee. Things are looking tight on the West Gate Bridge, which was originally opened in 1978.

(Image: Thad Roan, Wikimedia Commons)

Enter the West Gate Tunnel, a second motorway to cross the Yarra/Maribyrnong Rivers and link Melbourne’s CBD with the west. Announced earlier this week, the West Gate Tunnel will connect the northwest of the city centre (Docklands and West Melbourne) to the western suburbs near Altona.

The purple line shows the approximate route of the West Gate Tunnel (Map: Google)

The proposed tollway is in three main sections;

  • a duplicated West Gate Freeway from the Western Ring Road to near Spotswood
  • a four-kilometre tunnel from near Spotswood to Footscray
  • a network of roads from Footscray to the edge of the CBD near Docklands

Under the current proposal the West Gate Freeway would operate as express lanes from Altona to the West Gate Bridge, without entry or exit ramps. The existing entry and exit ramps would be adjusted to feed onto the new, parallel West Gate Tunnel lanes. A small feeder lane near the West Gate Bridge will allow the motorists joining after Altona to use the bridge if they wish.

Express lanes to the city on the new, duplicated West Gate Freeway (Image: Victorian Government, Transurban)

The network of linking roads in the inner-north west is perhaps the most interesting part of the project. The tunnels will emerge near the docks in Seddon, then become an elevated expressway past the docks, above Footscray Road. From there, motorists will have the option to join CityLink northbound (towards the airport), or continue and join Spencer Street or Wurundjeri Way southbound.

The West Gate Tunnel emerges near Footscray and crosses the Maribyrnong River, near the existing Footscray Road bridge (bottom of shot). Note the green veloway at the left, and the existing West Gate Bridge in the distance. (Image: Victorian Government, Transurban)

Associated with the project is an elevated, partially-covered veloway which will allow cyclists to ride from Footscray to the city on a dedicated path. Around the tunnel portals in Seddon and Footscray an extensive new wetlands area is to be created.

The West Gate Tunnel Veloway from Footscray to the city’s northwestern fringe (Image: Victorian Government, Transurban)

The project is to begin construction next year and be open in 2022. For more information, go to the West Gate Tunnel website.

What do you think of the West Gate Tunnel project? Is it needed? Comment below!

Comments (4)

  • Andrew Boland Reply

    i think it looks excellent! And so needed!~

    April 9, 2017 at 8:49 am
  • Agness of Run Agness Run Reply

    Great post, Tim! I think that this is a nice project and it will bring lots of improvements!

    April 12, 2017 at 5:21 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Thank Agness! I hope so! You’ll need to come back to Melbourne when it’s done :p

      April 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

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