Information collected through different investigations will inform the project’s development and Environment Effects Statement. You may see our team out and about in Melbourne’s inner west and along the West Gate Freeway undertaking these investigations during 2016.
It is important to note that investigations in a particular area do not necessarily mean the project will be situated or have an impact on that location.
Air quality monitoring
Air quality is a key consideration in the development of the Western Distributor. From July 2016, the project team will start a local air quality monitoring program in Melbourne’s inner west, with five new monitoring stations progressively installed at key locations, to get a comprehensive understanding of the existing air quality in the proposed area for the project.
Monitoring stations have begun operation:
- in Yarraville Gardens
- in Francis Street near the Yarraville Community Centre
- at the West Gate Freeway near Primula Avenue, Brooklyn
- in Donald McLean Reserve, Spotswood
- near St Augustine’s Primary, Yarraville
Monitoring sites may collect data on the following:
- key pollutants, associated with vehicle exhaust emissions including PM10 and PM2.5
- additional pollutants such as NO2 and benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes (BTEX)
The information collected will be used to:
- help verify data from the existing Footscray air monitoring station
- ensure tunnel ventilation structures are designed, built and operated effectively
- provide a baseline to compare air quality before and after the project
What to expect
Five temporary stations will operate for 12 months and collect information on the key pollutants associated with vehicle exhaust emissions.
The stations are about 3 metres by 2 metres and surrounded by a 5 to 6 metre fence for security. The stations will have a thin 10 metre mast, small air conditioning unit and computers connected to power.
The results, including hourly average data will be independently verified, collated and will be publically available approximately every two months.
Locating existing services
The Western Distributor project team will be completing additional service proving works to accurately determine the alignments and depths of existing services, such as pipes and cables along the project corridor, throughout 2016. This information will inform the project’s interface with the utility services along the alignment.
This activity will be conducted during the day with minimal disruption. A manually-operated piece of scanning equipment, similar in appearance to a lawn mower, identifies services through ground penetrating radar. The technique does not generate any noise.
For some locations, there is also an alternative proving technique that involves a hole excavated using a high pressure water gun, before material is drawn into a tanker truck for removal. This operation can create some noise and will be isolated from pedestrians and traffic to minimise intrusion.
Noise monitoring is undertaken to measure current noise levels, particularly at noise sensitive areas such as residences, hospitals and schools.
The information we collect is used to develop a detailed noise model which predicts future noise levels. Modelling results are used when designing noise attenuation, such as noise barriers, to ensure that they are effective for many years to come.
It also provides ‘baseline’ data so that we can measure any changes in traffic noise resulting from the project.
Noise monitoring will primarily involve unattended noise logging over a few days to a week. This will also be supplemented by short term attended measurements using a hand held noise monitor over a few hours.
To ensure the monitoring results provide a typical workday pattern, monitoring is conducted on weekdays (not public holidays or during school holidays) and at times when environmental conditions, such wind and rain, are within appropriate limits so that they do not significantly affect the noise level.
When measuring traffic noise we use professional acoustic consultants who follow established methodology and standards.
Geotechnical investigations have been underway since July 2015 to learn more about complex ground conditions in the project area and to test pavement on existing roads.
Investigations are especially important for a tunnel project. We use the information collected to consider the length and depth of the tunnels and to understand what techniques can be used to construct the roads, tunnels and other structures.
We are wrapping up the current program of geotechnical investigations which have helped us understand the different ground conditions and construction challenges throughout the project area.
Thank you for your understanding while these important works were carried out.