The Western Distributor includes some elements that are complex to build, such as bridges and tunnels, as well as more straightforward improvements to existing roads and ramps.
Meet Fiona, our construction expert.
What we've heard so far
Through consultation earlier this year, some of the feedback received included:
- continued preference for a design that stays within or close to the existing freeway reserve and industrial land
- integration with other transport and land use improvements
- managing construction impacts on residents, business owners and road users
- residents will require ongoing access to properties or facilities during construction
- a desire to know about how construction traffic will be managed to reduce disruption and inconvenience to road users
- concerns about treatment or removal of contaminated soil
- support for a solution to truck impacts and request for more information about truck restrictions and incentives to ensure impact on liveability in the inner west is minimised.
We know the West Gate Freeway is a vital corridor, used by more than 200,000 vehicles every day. Construction of the Western Distributor will be a major undertaking with complex works, which will take some time.
Managing traffic flow will be a high priority and it will be considered in the design. We have had constructability experts provide advice on how to build the Western Distributor and ensure we can keep traffic moving. There will also be requirements established to ensure connectivity is maintained so people can continue to travel to and from the west with minimal disruption.
- maintain the same number of lanes as is currently available during peak periods
- use smart technology with real-time travel information
- make changes to the surrounding road network such as tweaks to traffic light sequencing to improve traffic flow
- put on additional incident response vehicles during works to clear incidents and get traffic moving after an incident
- work with public transport authorities to explore additional services
- establish a traffic management coordination group.
Potential construction impacts
Depending on your exact location, potential impacts during construction of the project could include:
- temporary removal of existing noise barriers to accommodate construction activities
- replacement noise barriers, which may not be in the same position as existing barriers
- changed landscaping and visual impact
- removal and reconstruction of two pedestrian bridges over the West Gate Freeway
- high voltage powerline undergrounding and potential realignment of underground sewer
- temporary increases in noise and dust from construction activity
- some construction outside standard construction working hours
- construction traffic on nearby roads
- temporary changes in the way traffic is managed, to accommodate construction traffic on the freeway and nearby roads.
Construction management plans will be used to plan construction activities and outline mitigation measures to minimise the effects of construction impacts to local areas.
Management plans consider both the needs of construction and the local community, and outline general construction guidelines, developed through the planning process.
In addition there are also specific rules and regulations set by government authorities that contractors must abide by.
Property inspections and condition report
Construction is carefully planned and managed to ensure that surrounding
properties are protected during major works. We require construction companies to carry out inspections of properties and develop a condition report in areas close to major construction activities.
In the unlikely event that property damage does occur, claims can be properly assessed using the property condition report developed prior to construction.
Rules to guide construction activity
Performance requirements are rules that construction companies must follow when building a project. These rules or guidelines are in place to avoid or minimise impacts on local residents and the environment.
They cover topics such as traffic management, removal of spoil, local access, parking, noise, vibrations and communicating with road users and communities.
Some performance requirements are set by authorities, such as the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). For example, Victoria’s Environmental Guidelines for Major Construction Sites sets out strict conditions for managing noise, vibration and other aspects of construction such as erosion, dust and land disturbance.
Other performance requirements are developed as part of the project’s
planning process and development of the tender documentation. Feedback from stakeholders, including communities, will help inform what is included in these requirements.
To safeguard local residents from impacts that can be avoided, construction companies face significant fines if they break these rules.
Environmental Effects Statement
The Environment Effects Statement (EES)being prepared for the project will identify and assess potential construction techniques and impacts.
Some of the impacts or topics the EES will cover regarding construction include noise, dust, vibration, water disposal, spoil management and haulage routes, contaminated sites, ground movement, traffic, access and site compounds and contractor parking.
Through specialist studies which inform the impact assessments and the outcomes of the EES, detailed information will enable comprehensive management plans to be developed and implemented.
Initial site investigations have helped us to better understand local ground conditions and support the development of the Western Distributor.
EPA Victoria – Environmental Guidelines for Major Construction Sites