Greensborough bound motorists are already enjoying a smoother, flatter ride on the Western Ring Road, with three additional Greensborough bound lanes on the six-lane Moonee Ponds Creek Bridge now open.
Representing Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, Member for Wills Kelvin Thomson and Member for Calwell Maria Vamvakinou joined Victorian Minister for Roads Terry Mulder to celebrate the opening.
Mr Thomson said the new lanes on the Moonee Ponds Creek Bridge opened in the small hours of the morning yesterday and are already working to improve safety by realigning the Western Ring Road at this point.
“Before the realignment, the steep gradients at this section of the highway were a struggle for commercial vehicles which make up to 16 per cent of the 142,000 vehicles that travel this road every day,” Mr Thomson said.
“The new bridge is six metres higher than the outgoing bridge, and has created safer conditions by reducing the difference in speed between heavier and lighter vehicles, and reducing the need for sudden lane changes from light vehicles.”
Ms Vamvakinou said the opening was a significant milestone for the greater M80 project, which regular drivers of the ring road would see is progressing well.
“The Australian Government is working in partnership with the Victorian Government on capacity and safety improvement works at a number of key locations on the M80 – adding new lanes, installing traffic management systems and reconfiguring interchanges,” she said.
Mr Mulder said the benefits of the M80 upgrade went beyond just improving road safety and congestion.
“This project will support approximately 14,400 direct and indirect jobs during construction, delivering an important economic boost to residents and workers in the region,” Mr Mulder said.
Member for Northern Metropolitan Craig Ondarchie said the people living in nearby residential areas would enjoy wider benefits of the upgrade.
“In addition to the fantastic transport outcomes this will provide, local residents will no doubt welcome the reduction in noise from trucks previously struggling with the steep grade on this section of the road.”
The Victorian Coalition Government has committed $300 million towards the project, with the Australian Government committing $900 million to the $2.25 billion M80 upgrade under the current Nation Building Program with the remainder sought in future budgets.