A federal government pledge to add extra lanes to the Hume Freeway has been welcomed by Whittlesea council, but it insists the E6 Freeway should be built as a priority.
The government will spend $50 million to ease traffic on the Hume Freeway between Lithgow Street, Beveridge, and the M80 Ring Road through its Urban Congestion Fund.
Peak traffic on the freeway has increased significantly in recent years as more people move to Hume, Whittlesea and Mitchell.
In 2011, 2500 vehicles travelled on the Hume Freeway during peak periods. Traffic volumes on the Hume are expected to jump to 4300 by 2031.
The 23-kilometre E6 will link the Hume Freeway with the Ring Road, providing a north-south corridor through Whittlesea. It is expected to accommodate more than 80,000 vehicles a day.
Federal Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Minister Alan Tudge said the extra lanes would help create a more reliable road network for commuters and freight.
“This is as much about hitting those local traffic headaches as it is about the major highways and providing a safer journey home for motorists,” he said.
Mayor Lawrie Cox said that while the upgrade would help ease resident commutes, the funding fell short of fully addressing
the transport needs of the Whittlesea community.
“The major road we are seeking funding from the federal government for is … the E6 Freeway,” he said.
“Council has met with the local federal members of Parliament and lodged a budget submission with federal treasury outlining the need for the E6 Freeway to be built.
“This road is currently not scheduled for another 15 to 30 years and we are asking for the federal government to bring froward the time frame to construct this road.”