The Western Distributor project is entering a detailed planning and development phase.
Feedback received through recent consultation has been used to inform project development, including:
- an updated design called the Reference design
- requirements for construction tenderers
- impact assessments for the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES).
The Western Distributor is now in Phase Three of its development. This will run from July 2016 to early 2017 and includes the submission and evaluation of tenders and the preparation of the EES.
During this phase:
A short list of construction companies are asked to develop a Tender based on criteria known as functional requirements
- a Design and Construct (D&C) Request for Tender (RFT) is released to construction companies bidding for the project
- tenderers prepare a priced design as part of their response, which must be submitted in late 2016 for assessment
The EES is progressed in preparation for public exhibition
- specialist studies are completed by technical specialists
- the EES is prepared
Feedback from communities and stakeholders continues to inform project development
- the project team continues discussions with local communities about the Reference design, the EES, the tender process and next steps
- the Community Liaison Group (CLG) and Technical Reference Group (TRG) continue to meet regularly, providing a forum for the project team to seek advice and provide updates about what’s happening
- feedback is regularly provided to tenderers and specialists completing the EES.
Key features of the Reference design
No residential acquisition
The Reference design maintains the commitment to deliver the project without the need to acquire people’s homes.
Cycling and walking improvements
Cycling and walking in the west will be easier and safer with new shared paths and upgrades including:
- completing the Federation trail ‘missing link’ and improving connectivity between both sides of the West Gate Freeway
- a new off-road connection from Somerville Road/Whitehall Street to Footscray Road
- new connections from the Dynon Road shared path to the Capital City Trail, Moonee Ponds Creek Trail and to Spencer Street
- grade separating the Footscray Road shared path, so that cyclists do not need to cross intersections at Sims Street, Dock Link Road and Appleton Dock Road
- new pedestrian bridges over the West Gate Freeway that are Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant
A sustainable design
We are aiming to achieve a design which meets the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s excellence rating.
The project’s urban design guidance looks to achieve a sustainable road, requiring that issues such as water sensitive design, integrated water management, biodiversity and habitat protection, and urban city cooling through the use of green infrastructure are considered and addressed.
Allowing for future infrastructure
Tenderer designs must not prevent potential future public transport, freight and road improvements, including:
- a tram route to connect the City of Melbourne to the City of Maribyrnong
- a new tram depot in the Dynon precinct
- bus routes along Footscray Road
- M80 and Princes Freeway upgrades
- freight rail on the Newport to Sunshine line, at the Port of Melbourne and the Dynon Road precinct.
Keeping traffic moving during construction
The construction contractor is required to maintain all freeway lanes during peak times so that traffic can keep moving throughout the construction period.
A traffic management coordination group will be established to ensure that the construction contractor maintains and properly manages traffic flow at all times.
The urban design guidance recognises the importance of achieving positive outcomes for those who live, work and use the parks, paths and other facilities next to the freeway.
Guidance on protecting views and privacy, minimising overshadowing and noise, and providing access and security has been provided to tenderers and will form part of the evaluation of tender responses. See urban design for more information.
Truck friendly design
The Western Distributor will be built to accommodate future freight growth and support the efficient movement of goods to and from the Port of Melbourne. Strict specifications have been developed in consultation with the freight industry including maximum ramp and tunnel gradients, space for long trucks (B-triples), bridge strengthening and intersection improvements. Providing a direct and user friendly route will help attract trucks off local roads.
The urban design guidance encourages tenderers to pay specific attention to bridge crossings over the Maribyrnong River and Moonee Ponds Creek. It provides guidance on the scale, structural and architectural form, integration of current and future land use, open space and community requirements to provide high amenity environments either side of the river and creek.
Minimising traffic noise
New or upgraded noise walls will be built to a high standard, with a life-span of at least 40 years. The EES will assess potential noise impacts and recommend an appropriate level of mitigation. Noise testing will be undertaken before and after the Western Distributor is built to ensure all noise walls doing their job.
Key design updates since Concept design
Tunnel connection to the West Gate Freeway – long tunnel design
The Reference design includes the long tunnel design. This responds directly to local community and council feedback that a design which stays within, or as close as possible, to the existing freeway is preferred to minimise impacts to open space, residents and community facilities.
Hyde Street access – an refined north-south design
The ‘north-south’ Hyde Street connection option has been refined as a result of feedback and included in the Reference design.
This portion of the design remains one of the most challenging because of impacts on both sides of the freeway, however it remains critical to the removal of trucks from local streets. The north-south option minimises impacts either side of the freeway, by locating the ramps as close as possible to the existing freeway and away from residents.
Key benefits of this option are:
- does not include an elevated ‘flyover’ of the West Gate Bridge
- minimises the introduction of new infrastructure to near-by communities.
It is possible that tenderers may propose an alternate Hyde Street connection as part of their design development. But it will still need to conform with other strict requirements that limit impacts to open space and community facilities.
Wurundjeri Way extension and widening
Wurundjeri Way will be extended north to provide an important CBD bypass route. The scope also includes widening of Wurundjeri Way all the way to Flinders Street, to allow this route to cater for traffic which will move off parallel CBD roads, particularly Spencer Street.
This creates opportunities to improve cycling, walking and access to public transport in the CBD.