The Age: Tunnel mooted to fix Hoddle traffic (22 December, 2008)
A four-kilometre road tunnel from the MCG to the Eastern Freeway is among key recommendations in a report into fixing traffic jams on Hoddle Street, commissioned by the Brumby Government.
The $1.5 billion tunnel concept is in a report by engineers GHD, which was commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet as it developed its recent transport statement. The report will feed into a $5 million study to be completed by VicRoads next year into how to improve traffic conditions on Hoddle Street.
The proposed road tunnel would start at the Punt Road Oval in Richmond and end at the entrance to the Eastern Freeway in Collingwood, running 18 metres beneath Hoddle Street. It would remove 17 sets of traffic lights, and cut the average journey on Hoddle Street by 12 per cent, the report says.
The project would shut part of the MCG’s car park for at least two years, for use as a construction site. The Government, in its transport plan, said it would investigate “the feasibility of grade separating key junctions on Hoddle Street”.
Tunnelling under Hoddle Street is backed by key groups, including the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which want a more dramatic solution to Hoddle Street’s traffic problems.
The RACV has long backed a series of underpasses and overpasses for Hoddle Street. It repeated its call to improve conditions last week, saying there were few north-south routes in Melbourne.
The GHD report details other options for smaller tunnels on Hoddle Street, including:
- A $600 million underpass at Victoria Parade, which would require some property acquisition.
- A $530 million tunnel at Bridge Road.
- A $70 million “park and ride” facility at Victoria Park train station.
Hoddle Street has some of Melbourne’s worst congestion points, with 47,000 cars a day battling to get through the intersection at Swan Street in Richmond. At the corner of Hoddle and Victoria streets, another 40,000 cars a day cause some of the city’s worst traffic snarls.