Posted on 16. Mar, 2012 in News

The Baillieu Government is refusing to act on road congestion despite planning to release its long overdue Port of Melbourne container capacity expansion review, Shadow Ports Minister Tim Pallas said today.

The review is expected to recommend Webb dock be expanded as a container facility to accommodate more than one million containers.

“The Port of Melbourne has been booming since the successful completion of the channel deepening project, yet with the existing port facilities likely to reach capacity by 2015, action is needed to address the worsening congestion situation,” Mr Pallas said.

“Instead of acting to ease this congestion, the Baillieu Government has avoided making any decisions and nearby residents are paying the price.

“The City of Maribyrnong has 21,000 truck movements a day and moving more activity to Webb dock will place an increasing burden on the roads in the surrounding residential areas.”

Mr Pallas said the West Gate Bridge was tipped to carry almost 200,000 vehicles a day in coming years and expanding the Webb dock container facility would place further strain on the West Gate and other port road infrastructure.

“The time has well and truly come for Mr Baillieu to release a traffic management plan and a commitment to upgrade arterial roads to stop these trucks impacting on residential areas.”

In October 2010, Asciano predicted that a Webb dock container facility “can expect an unnecessary increase of more than 800,000 truck movements per year due to the lack of a rail link, an increase in noise and light pollution and the destruction of views from nearby communities with the addition of up to seven 70m high cranes operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.

Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan called on Mr Baillieu to reinstate Labor’s Truck Action Plan, which would remove a large number of trucks off the West Gate Bridge and reduce truck traffic in the residential areas in the inner west.

“The Baillieu Government needs to address current traffic concerns in the inner west and around Port Melbourne before expanding the Webb dock container facility,” Mr Noonan said.

Member for Albert Park Martin Foley said the Baillieu Government must deal with freight movement on Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne.

“The Government must ensure there is a link between Webb dock and the M1 otherwise nearby residents will be forced to endure more trucks at all hours,” Mr Foley said.

“These are tough issues, but Mr Baillieu must show some leadership. All we have seen is indecision and more trucks on residential streets.”

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