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May 2008 - M1 upgrade starts to take shape

2008-05-01

The upgrade of the Monash-CityLink-West Gate (M1) will take another important step forward with major works to start on the West Gate Freeway section, Minister for Roads and Ports, Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas said the Brumby Government’s $1.39 billion M1 upgrade was the largest state funded road project in Victoria’s history. 

”The project will improve safety and reliability, and increase traffic throughput on the state’s busiest freight and traffic corridor,” Mr Pallas said.

We are building an extra lane in each direction on the Monash Freeway and Southern Link and reconstructing the Bolte and Montague Street ramps to reduce weaving and merging movements on the West Gate Freeway.

Temporary traffic changes are required to achieve these improvements, including the closure of the Montague Street city-bound on-ramp while it is dismantled and rebuilt.

The Montague Street city-bound on-ramp will be closed from the evening of Sunday 18 May for approximately 18 months, while the construction of the additional freeway lanes to Kings Way is underway.

Mr Pallas said the M1 upgrade would provide an additional exit ramp from the Bolte Bridge to take traffic to the Burnley Tunnel.”It will also provide new inbound lanes spanning Montague Street, taking traffic directly to Kings Way,” Mr Pallas said.

”These new lanes and ramps will eliminate traffic weaving between the Bolte Bridge and Montague Street, as motorists will be able to choose their desired lane clear of merging traffic.

”By removing the ,”knot,”in the freeway, we are creating a better flowing corridor for the 160,000 motorists who use it every day.

”At the Tullamarine Calder Interchange we successfully eliminated the dangerous weaving resulting from motorists on the Calder Highway meeting traffic from the Tullamarine Freeway, and the result has been a safer and more free-flowing road.,”Mr Pallas said that no other freeway access ramps to and from Montague Street would be affected by these works.

”While the Montague Street freeway ramp is closed, the signed detour route to CityLink is via Normanby Road, Clarendon Street, City Road and Power Street. Drivers can continue along Power Street and via Sturt Street to access Kings Way,,”Mr Pallas said.

”Motorists using the M1 should allow extra time for their journeys, especially during peak periods, plan each trip, be aware of diversion routes, and where possible, catch public transport.

”I urge all motorists to take care when travelling on this corridor throughout construction, for your own safety and for the safety of workers and other motorists,”Mr Pallas said the final cost of the M1 upgrade had been subject to the final design, which had now been confirmed.

”The $1.39 billion upgrade of the Monash-CityLink-West Gate freeway includes significant design improvements, especially to the Bolte Bridge and Montague Street interchanges and a state-of-the-art freeway management system,”Mr Pallas said.

”The project design provides a better functioning and safer freeway, and the cost benefit ratio is significant, with a 14 dollar return on every dollar invested.”

The final cost of the project has increased due to: Construction works being done at night to reduce disruption for motorists; An improved drainage system to cope with larger storm events; The provision of additional ramp storage to meet new requirements for ramp signalling and metering, which result in the safer operation of the network; Significant relocation of underground or overhead utilities and services, including gas and electricity; Better environmental management to meet new standards; A seven per cent nation-wide increase in the cost of labour and materials; Management of interface with other construction projects including the Melbourne Convention Centre to ensure both project meet timing commitments.

Mr Pallas also announced that existing construction arrangements allow for completed sections of the freeway to be opened progressively.

”The section between Jacksons and Warrigal Road is now due to open in April 2009, and the completed Monash Freeway and CityLink sections are due to open by the end 2009,”Mr Pallas said.

”Opening the Monash section of the project 12 months early will result in benefits to the community of approximately $600 million.

”The Brumby Government is taking action to deliver an efficient road network for Victorian motorists.” M1 Project Director, John Cunningham said with any project of this scale, disruption to traffic is unavoidable, however VicRoads and CityLink are working to minimise impact on drivers.

”Although the works may cause some inconvenience during construction, the work is vital to improving traffic flow on the freeway,” Mr Cunningham said. Detour routes will be clearly communicated via radio, on-road signage and on the project website at www.mcwupgrade.com.au.