The Western Distributor is an opportunity to deliver real improvements to Melbourne’s transport network. Providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge will enhance productivity for the freight industry, improve travel times and boost safety and liveability for the community.
Without this essential west-to-port connection, truck drivers will continue to have two options:
- a longer and less efficient journey via the West Gate Bridge and Bolte Bridge
- an increasingly slow and more congested trip along inner-west arterial roads with traffic lights, difficult turns and a mixture of local traffic, cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road and abutting residential areas.
Major trip benefits
The project will provide:
- a vital second river crossing
- direct freeway connections to the Port saving trucks up to 50% travel time
- 40% additional river crossing capacity
- 50% more capacity to the West Gate Freeway from M80/M1 interchange
- a full freeway management system, offering improved travel time reliability and safety
- a strengthened West Gate Freeway to 75% SM1600 and full SM1600 for the Western Distributor, providing a heavy vehicle route for HPFVs from Webb Dock and Swanson Dock all the way to the M80 via the Western Distributor
- express lanes to the West Gate Bridge for vehicles heading to south of the city and the south eastern suburbs
- direct connections primarily servicing the freight industry at MacKenzie Road, Appleton Dock Road and Hyde Street
- upgrades to interchanges to better accommodate freight vehicles
High Productivity Freight Vehicle road access in Victoria
All new structures constructed for the project will be built to SM1600 (160 tonne). All existing bridges along the West Gate Freeway between the M80 interchange and Williamstown Road will be strengthened to 75% of SM1600, accommodating up to 110 tonne loads depending on vehicle configurations.
The Western Distributor increases the opportunity to use HPFVs and as a direct result improves the productivity of the freight network by allowing greater volumes of freight from fewer movements.
This will prove increasingly important as the port capacity expands and the relocation of industrial land further away from the port lengthens freight travel distances.
Now that industry is aware of the capability and constraints of the network, further discussions can progress to build on the capacity that the Western Distributor will introduce to unlock road freight productivity, particularly to and from the port.
How pricing might work
The project proposes that trucks will be tolled to use the new upgraded West Gate Freeway east of Grieve Parade. Trucks can travel to and from the port, CityLink and Hyde Street or continue on the M1 to the South East for a toll up to approximately $13 in today’s prices.
Sectional tolling (for example those travelling for only a section of the route) will also be applied with exact tolls and toll points developed as more design work is done, including exact location of on and off ramps and consultation with stakeholders.
A toll cap will apply to trucks using both the Western Distributor and CityLink.
- A truck only toll on the substantially improved West Gate Freeway
- Toll prices similar to those on CityLink based on distance travelled
- Trip caps for journeys that use both Western Distributor and CityLink
- Looking at new innovative tolling solutions for shuttle trips to and from the port, including multi-trip discount incentives
- Night time discounts.