If Victoria does not build an East West Link-style road within the next five years, the cost of congestion delay between east and west Melbourne will blow out to more than $100 million.
The Australian Infrastructure Plan report identified the east west corridor to the north of Melbourne CBD as one of Melbourne’s major congestion challenges, dubbing its construction a “high priority initiative”.
It says vehicles travelling between the Eastern Freeway and City Link are “forced to navigate the congested inner city road network, or the heavily used M1 corridor to the south of the city”.
If the state government does not deal with the issue within the next five years, road congestion cost in Melbourne will blow out to $144 million by 2031, up from $73 million in 2011, the report states.
The Victorian Transport Policy Institute defines congestion costs as those coming from incremental delay, vehicle operating costs, pollution emissions and stress.
The finding comes only two months after Victorian Auditor-General Peter Frost criticised the Andrews government for scrapping the East West Link toll road project, which will ultimately cost taxpayers $1.1 billion.
Before he was elected premier in 2014, Daniel Andrews vowed not to build the road and promised Victorians would not pay “one cent” in compensation for dumping the project.
Treasurer Tim Pallas would not immediately comment on the East West Link.
Instead he said the government was “getting on with building” other high priority projects identified in the report, such as the removal of level crossings, joining Melbourne Metro and the CityLink and Tullamarine widening.