Tunnel Vision

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Illustration: Mick Connolly.

Illustration: Mick Connolly.

A first look at the east-west link impact statement raises more questions than it answers. from  The Sunday Age’s State Poitical Editor.

If you’ve ever watched the state government’s animated videos spruiking the east-west link, you could be forgiven for thinking that once the tunnel is built, Melbourne will become a traffic utopia: a congestion-free network of seamless roads and clear blue skies, where cars drive around in an orderly fashion to the sound of soothing guitar melodies.

Until recently, the justification for the $8 billion tunnel consisted of this type of imagery, along with a handful of press releases and a ”short form” business case that looked more like a glossy pamphlet than a rigorous analysis of the project.  Now, after months of criticism over its lack of transparency, the government has finally released the Comprehensive Impact Statement for the link.

It gives Victorians the first real glimpse of the implications: from traffic flows and contamination risks, to land acquisition and social impacts.

Produced by the Linking Melbourne Authority, the statement takes the form of a 60-page summary, a 33-page executive summary, 20 chapters, 30 technical appendixes, two map books and a series of DVDs.

It’s extraordinarily detailed and hard to digest, yet even once you’ve sifted through the report in a bid to separate the substance from the spin, you’re still left wondering: Does the project actually stack up?

4 thoughts on “Tunnel Vision”

  1. robert dunn says:

    Great article. Special thanks to The Age for writing about this tunnel. It doesn’t appear that there is a realistic business case for this tunnel. Could it be the desalination project all over again?

  2. barry goodes says:

    Is it possible for one person to absorb such a large amount of information?

  3. jameswest says:

    Could be a lot more west to east traffic coming off the tullamarine freeway headed towards Hoddle Street exit. This could create a significant bottleneck in the future

  4. chrisg says:

    There is a lot of information, and they don’t want anyone to absorb it, that’s why they allowed the minimum 30 days to respond. Its hard to separate the facts from the spin. Regarding the west-east traffic, the documents say there will be no increase in Hoddle Street. Its hard to believe no extra traffic from the tunnel will add to the north-south problems.

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