During April and May 2016, we asked local communities, councils and industry for their feedback on the Western Distributor Concept design and other key topics including construction management, air quality, traffic noise, urban design and walking and cycling.
With detailed information provided at community consultation sessions and online – including road design drawings and 3D visuals, people were able to see how the project could look in their area. This resulted in feedback with a strong focus on localised issues and how the project may impact communities.
What we have heard
The feedback received helped us understand people’s views about the different advantages and disadvantages of the Concept design and design options for the tunnel and Hyde Street ramps.
Residents, local groups and other stakeholders continue to tell us that addressing truck impacts in the inner west, improving traffic flow and capacity of the M1, and providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge are important and necessary, but that the impacts on local communities and public open space must be minimised and carefully managed.
While feedback varied among the different groups of stakeholders involved in consultation, key themes identified were:
- continued preference from communities close to potential routes, for a design that stays within or close to the existing freeway reserve and industrial land
- comments from those communities about new elevated structures including amenity, noise, vibration, business operation and property impacts
- importance of open space and recreation facilities
- comments about air quality impacts in the inner west and measures to achieve the best air quality outcome
- comments about noise impacts and quality of treatments, particularly along the West Gate Freeway and elevated structures
- support for a solution to truck impacts and requests for more information about truck restrictions and incentives
- maintaining and improving efficient and value-formoney freight access to key destinations, including the port
- comments about impacts on waterways
- integration with other transport and land use improvements
- changes to traffic and the need to address road congestion for all road users, including buses
- managing construction impacts on residents, businesses and road users
- requests for more information on how impacts will be managed – including traffic changes, noise and air quality.
Detailed information about the consultation process, what we heard and how we are responding to this feedback is available in the Western Distributor Consultation Report Sep 2015 – May 2016 (PDF 5mb).
How we are using the feedback
We have consulted with communities and a range of interested stakeholders from the early stages of the project because we know that understanding their views and concerns will help deliver a better project and the right outcome for Melbourne’s future. Input from communities, stakeholders, industry and regulators is used in many ways at each stage of the project’s development, to inform assessments and decision making.
Functional requirements are issued to tenderers and describe what needs to be designed and built. These requirements include specifications and constraints for a range of topics including road design, quality of construction, traffic management and safety.
The Reference design provides a base for tenderers to develop their own, more detailed design. It outlines the functional requirements of the project in a visual way. Tenderers may use their specialist knowledge and expertise to identify solutions that enhance and change the design to achieve a better outcome, as long as the functional requirements are met.
17 impact assessments are being undertaken as part of the EES, on topics including air quality, noise, health, visual, traffic, social and business impacts. Information on these studies is available in the EES specialist studies discussion paper.
Tenders include fully costed designs developed through the competitive tender process. Tenderer designs that differ from the Reference design will be assessed through the EES.
An EES presents a thorough and transparent analysis of the project’s anticipated impacts and plans from how these impacts will be managed. It will be publicly exhibited in the first quarter of 2017 and community and stakeholder submissions on the EES will be considered by an independent planning panel. Outcomes of the EES inform planning approval decisions by the Minister for Planning.
Construction is expected to start in late 2017 and be complete in 2022.