Residents near Melbourne’s East West Link face a five-year construction nightmare, but the road will reduce traffic volumes on inner city streets, an impact statement has found.
A total of 105 homes and 34 commercial properties will be acquired to make way for the road, which will connect the end of the Eastern Freeway to Citylink.
The iconic Royal Park will also be affected with 1.36 hectares to be lost.
The road, which is expected to carry 100,000 vehicles a day by 2031, will reduce traffic volumes on some of the city’s major roads including Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade, a comprehensive impact statement, released on Thursday, shows.
Traffic volumes would increase on those roads without East West Link.
Overall East West Link is forecast to reduce peak travel times between east and west by up to 20 minutes.
The impact statement also acknowledged the significant effect the road will have on residents, despite the fact that they will be compensated.
It said the greatest impacts on residents will be felt around the interchange with Hoddle St and the interchange with Citylink where homes will be acquired.
The tunnel will also create a risk of disturbing contaminated ground water, the report said.
“Some locations could be affected by construction activities for a period of up to five years, with impacts such as dust, air quality, noise and vibration needing to be carefully managed,” the impact statement said.
The report also stated that parkland will be lost in parks other than Royal Park.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the building of the road would affect less than one per cent of Royal Park and provided an opportunity to improve the park.
“We will end up with a far better Royal Park,” he said.
Mr Mulder said one of the benefits of the road would be a halving of queues at the Hoddle St Eastern Freeway exit.
“East West Link will put traffic where it should be – on a connected freeway network and off local streets,” he said.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said the document was not as useful as it might be, because it did not contain a detailed business case. He said he had concerns about the accuracy of the traffic modelling used.
“This project costs a lot and doesn’t do very much,” Mr Andrews said.
Greens leader Greg Barber said the modelling showed there would be an increase in traffic congestion in the Boroondara and Moonee Valley council areas.
“A road tunnel can’t solve congestion. All it can do is move it from place to place,” he said.