A total ban on trucks must be introduced on inner-west residential streets once the Western Distributor is completed, a parliamentary inquiry into infrastructure projects has been told.
Appearing before a recent parliamentary committee sitting, Maribyrnong council chief executive Stephen Wall said the council was concerned that drivers trying to avoid tolls on the proposed $5.5 billion freeway may use “rat runs” through the city.
The freeway, which will widen the West Gate Freeway and tunnel beneath Yarraville before crossing the Maribyrnong River, has been proposed by toll-road operators Transurban and backed by the state government.
Mr Wall said the council considered 24-hour bans on through freight truck traffic and proper enforcement “non-negotiable”.
“It would be a superfluous exercise to put the infrastructure in but then not insist that the truck traffic use that infrastructure,” he said.
The hearing was told that both Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay councils were seeking more detail on the project.
Mr Wall said that while consultation had been acceptable so far, lack of detail and transparency were making it difficult for the council to decide on a preferred option for the location of the southern tunnel.
A long tunnel option begins in the centre of the West Gate Freeway, while a shorter option links with the freeway via flyover ramps, cuts through open space and crosses Stony Creek.
“The short [tunnel] option … gets fairly close to our residents and there is a lot of concern from the community, “ Mr Wall said.
“So at this stage council would suggest the long tunnel has less impact on the community.”
Hobsons Bay council chief executive Chris Eddy supports the proposal in general but differs from Maribyrnong over the preferred tunnel, given its likely impact on Hobsons Bay residents and open space south of the West Gate Freeway.
“On the surface the long tunnel is probably less attractive to our community for the same reasons the short tunnel is perhaps less attractive to Maribyrnong council,” he said.
The state government’s community consultation on the Western Distributor begins at the South Kingsville Community Centre from 9.30am-1.30pm on Saturday.