By Goya Dmytryshchak and Benjamin Millar
Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong councils are on a collision course over new flyover ramps planned for the Western Distributor.
There are five design options for Transurban’s $5.5 billion Western Distributor tollway, which will create a new truck route to the Melbourne port and widen the West Gate freeway to 12 lanes from the M80 Ring Road to Williamstown Road.
The neighbouring councils disagree about the siting of new ramps designed for placarded trucks, such as fuel tankers, which would be banned from entering the tollway’s new tunnel.
Hobsons Bay mayor Peter Hemphill said his council supported ramps directly on to Hyde Street, just north of the West Gate freeway, so long as Stony Creek is protected.
This position signals a looming clash with Maribyrnong council, which has called for ramps on the south side of the freeway, via Hall Street and Simcock Avenue at Spotswood.
These would not impact Stony Creek.
Cr Hemphill said any impact on or loss of open space at Stony Creek reserve, West Gate golf course and Don McLean reserve must “be offset, minimised or fully compensated”.
“We would like to see that impacts on the Spotswood Cricket Club, Spotswood Football Club, Emma McLean Kindergarten and the Spotswood and surrounding community are minimised.”
Both councils support a long tunnel under Yarraville, with a southern entrance at the West Gate freeway.
They say this would have less impact on their communities.
Transurban chief Scott Charlton has publicly backed this option, but the state government business case leans towards a cheaper, short tunnel, arguing a longer tunnel would create more disruption during construction.
As reported by Star Weekly, Spotswood and South Kingsville residents say they don’t want the four-storey-high flyovers that would come close to their homes if a short tunnel is built.
Yarraville residents say a short tunnel would destroy open, green space along Stony Creek and bring the portal too close to their homes.
Hobsons Bay council also wants a truck ban in certain streets to stop toll dodgers.