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8 December 2017
Construction is set to start on the West Gate Tunnel in the coming months, and residents in the inner west are preparing for a huge increase in traffic on their streets for the duration of the project.
The $5.5bn project will increase the number of lanes on the West Gate Freeway, as well as create two tunnels under Yarraville, connecting CityLink with the West Gate Freeway.
At the height of the excavation, a truck will leave the site every two minutes, according to planning documents. That’s more than 700 trucks per day during the busiest stages.
Adding to the congestion on the CBD streets, inner-west roads, and freeways is the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project, which will be running concurrently.
The western tunnel entrance and Arden (North Melbourne station) are set to be the first metro tunnel sites to begin construction, and will add an extra 426 trucks on the road each day.
Together the projects will send a truck onto the West Gate Freeway and CityLink every 1.3 minutes.
Academics and opposition sources are saying the effects of this traffic congestion will be felt by commuters as well as residents, who will have to put up with years of trucks and additional passenger vehicles on their streets.
The tunnel is one of the biggest road projects the state has ever undertaken, and will involve removing over 1.5mill cubic metres of rock and soil.
Construction is expected to finish in 2022.