East West Link will save peak-hour motorists an hour a day, TraffixGroup report says

Herald Sun: East West Link will save peak-hour motorists an hour a day, TraffixGroup report says. Matt Johnson and Annika Smethurst. 6 August 2014

Peak-hour traffic between the Eastern Freeway and CityLink is now so bad that motorists who use the planned East West Link toll road will save an hour a day, the government says.

Brandishing modelling by TraffixGroup done in May, Premier Denis Napthine said current average travel times in the morning peak were 34 minutes for people travelling from the Eastern Fwy to CityLink, via Alexandra Parade.

In the afternoon, people travelling the return route from CityLink to the Eastern Fwy take an average of 41 minutes.

Dr Napthine said the average trip along the East West Link Stage One will be seven or eight minutes each way when it opens, meaning a saving of about an hour for a return trip.

This is based on about 80,000 people using the new toll road, which is expected to cost $6-8 billion.

The government would not say what tolling figure was used to arrive at this figure.

“Congestion across the north of Melbourne’s CBD is worse than we initially thought,” Dr Napthine said.

Moreland Mayor Lambros Tapinos and Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky are leading their councils in a legal fight against the East West Link.

“The benefits of East West Link Stage One are even more important to Melburnians and Victorians.”

But Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said the East West Link project had been plagued by “dodgy traffic modelling”.

“I don’t think anything about this project stacks up,” Mr Andrews said.

“If this is a good project Denis Napthine let Victorians vote for it, or vote against it.”

Daniel Bowen, from the Public Transport Users’ Association, immediately questioned the claims.

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber also criticised the modelling, saying few people travel the route for which the government is spruiking time savings.

“The traffic jam at Hoddle St is caused by cars trying to get to the city, not to the Tullamarine,” Mr Barber said.

“The only thing this $18 billion toll road will do is shift the traffic jam a few kilometres.”

He said a new train line would clear more congestion.

“The Liberals promised us the Doncaster rail line, delivered a toll road, and now they want us to put them back in government for another four years.”

Dr Napthine said tolls would be set at competitive levels, and that people living in Ringwood and travelling to the airport and back in peak hours would have travel times slashed.

“The report shows that for a person living in Ringwood who is making a round trip to Melbourne Airport during the morning and afternoon peak, EWL Stage 1 will cut their travel time by nearly 90 minutes,” he said.

The Premier said even when there is no congestion at all between Alexandra Parade and CityLink there would be a time saving.

The government was unable to say how much people turning into Hoddle St, from the Eastern Freeway, would benefit.

Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the new road would be enormously important for families, and would also help freight and transport companies because “time is money”.

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