The State Government is providing a thorough and transparent planning process for the $5.5 billion Western Distributor Project.
Acting Minister for Planning Tim Pallas has today (5 January, 2016) confirmed that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) will be required for the Western Distributor encompassing the widening of the West Gate Freeway, a tunnel under Yarraville, a second river crossing of the Maribyrnong and an elevated road along Footscray Road.
The EES process will provide a robust and open framework through which the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of the Project can be rigorously assessed. The effectiveness of proposed measures will also be evaluated.
The scope of the EES will be guided by consultation commencing in February with local residents, council and industry. This will continue on from community engagement undertaken by Transurban to date.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will convene a Technical Reference Group early this year with representation from relevant authorities to provide guidance and assistance with respect to the scoping requirements and preparation of the EES.
The Western Distributor Project will create 5,600 new jobs, end trucks rat-running through inner west streets to reach the Port, deliver immediate travel time savings of up to 20 minutes a day, provide a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge and widen the Monash.
The State Government will work with the community to ensure businesses and residents potentially impacted by the Project will be able to have their say as part of the EES process.
Public notices inviting comments will be placed in metro and local newspapers, as well as published on www.delwp.vic.gov.au in February.
The entire project, including the Monash Freeway Upgrade, provides a network-wide solution, streamlining traffic flow from Geelong to Pakenham.
Work on improving access to Webb Dock has commenced, the Monash Freeway Upgrade will start construction in late 2016, and construction of the Western Distributor will start in early 2018 with completion of the full project by 2022.
“We’re getting on with the Western Distributor Project, which will create thousands of new jobs, be an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, and provide motorists with immediate travel time savings of up to 20 minutes a day,” said Acting Minister for Planning Tim Pallas. “This will be a comprehensive planning process to ensure that the $5.5 billion Western Distributor Project addresses impacts on the community and industry. We have been open and transparent by immediately releasing the business case, now we want to ensure that the local community and businesses gets the opportunity to have their say on this vital project.”
Source: State government media release