The Western Distributor Project is a $5.5 billion transport solution that will streamline traffic from Geelong to Pakenham. It is made up of three interrelated major projects: the Monash Freeway Upgrade, Webb Dock Access, and the Western Distributor.
The Western Distributor will provide a vital second river crossing, reduce travel times from the west by 20 minutes and get rid of 6000 trucks off local streets. The project includes widening the West Gate Freeway and connecting it to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the CBD via a new road tunnel under Yarraville. A bridge over the Maribyrnong River will provide an alternative river crossing to the West Gate Bridge. A direct connection to the Port from Hyde Street will get trucks off local streets to relieve congestion.
The Monash Freeway Upgrade provides additional lanes from EastLink to Clyde Road, and smart technologies to improve traffic flow from Warrigal Road to Koo Wee Rup Road increasing capacity and improving traffic flow.
The Webb Dock access improvements include upgrading Cook Street and the West Gate Freeway-to-Bolte Bridge ramp to provide direct access for trucks reducing the weaving and margining on the West Gate Freeway. These works will complement VicRoads construction in the area, which is underway.
These will all work together to keep traffic flowing on the M1.
Melbourne’s freeways operate as an interconnected network. What happens on one part of this network can affect people travelling on other parts – even those that are many kilometres away. An incident on the West Gate Bridge can take between 16 minutes to 6 hours to clear and can triple travel times for the entire M1 corridor as well as spilling to nearby roads.
By boosting capacity along the Monash and West Gate freeways and providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, the Western Distributor Project will build resilience and deliver significant benefits for everyone using Melbourne’s freeway network – to the north, south, east and west.
Together these changes will increase capacity and improve traffic flow, slashing daily peak travel times from the west by up to 20 minutes and up to 10 minutes form the south east. Direct links between the freeway and the port will support a growing number of freight movements and remove up to 6,000 trucks off the West Gate Bridge. The Project will also create 5,600 jobs and provide an $11 billion boost to Victoria’s economy.
The Western Distributor Project also includes technology upgrades to the existing M1 in the south-east and the west that will address key bottlenecks and reduce incidents significantly – including a 20% reduction in casualty crashes.
Traffic flow is improved through the use of a fully managed motorway covering the M80 Ring Road, M1 and M2 Tullamarine Freeway corridors. This provides seamless integration and efficient and effective 24/7 real time traffic management including lane use signs, variable speed limits, automatic incident detection and enhanced incident response services. The managed motorway system responds automatically if there is an incident or traffic congestion and can close lanes for safety or regulate the flow of traffic entering the freeway.
This project will not just increase capacity, but also make the roads smarter and able to respond to changing traffic conditions.