Whittlesea and Hume councils are calling on the state government to fund “desperately needed” road upgrades in the northern suburbs as part of this year’s budget.
The councils have made a joint submission to Treasurer Tim Pallas seeking a northern outer suburban arterial roads package.
They want the government to put up funding to duplicate and upgrade Bridge Inn, Childs and Epping roads; the duplications of Edgars, Donnybrook, Craigieburn, Mickleham and Somerton roads; and the extension and duplication of Findon Road.
The councils have been campaigning for a number of years to have the nine roads upgraded, warning that they are unable to accommodate the region’s rapid population growth.
Hume mayor Geoff Porter said the roads package would deliver “desperately needed roads” for the northern growth corridor.
He said the requested package would cut travel times, improve road safety and better connect communities in key growth corridors.
Hume council criticised the government last year for overlooking duplication of Craigieburn, Mickleham and Somerton roads in the 2017-18 budget, saying the community had been “left hanging”.
Whittlesea mayor Kris Pavlidis said the roads package needed to be funded this year as many of the key roads across both municipalities were unable to meet the demands of large and increasing volumes of traffic.
“Existing infrastructure is not coping with significant residential and industrial growth, creating costly delays,” she said.
“The City of Whittlesea and Hume City are experiencing unprecedented population growth and are developing as key economic hubs. Improved road infrastructure is desperately needed to keep our cities and state moving.”
The submission follows a 2016 warning from Infrastructure Victoria that the drive from Epping to Melbourne’s CBD is predicted to take one hour and 45 minutes by 2046 unless congestion is addressed. The independent advisory body said the commute currently takes about 60 minutes.