Feb 22, 2012

M80 Ring Road to get smarter and safer

The M80 Ring Road is set to get an intelligence boost following the awarding of a $62.5 million contract to equip it with technology that will help prevent congestion while giving motorists the information they need to better plan their journeys.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said Visionstream Australia will install an electronic freeway management system along what is one of Melbourne’s busiest roads, providing VicRoads the tools to better manage traffic flows as well as respond quickly to accidents and breakdowns.

“It’s all about getting the most out of the infrastructure we already have, which over time is a far smarter and cheaper option than simply building more and bigger roads,” said Mr Albanese.

“As well as being good for taxpayers, this technology will deliver faster, safer and less frustrating driving conditions for the 142,000 motorists and truck drivers who use this vital part of Melbourne’s road network every day.

“Indeed if applied nationwide, electronic freeway management systems have the potential to greatly reduce congestion and save Australian families and businesses more than $500 million a year.  That’s why in last year’s Budget we set aside funds to assist the states retrofit their existing motorways with the technology.”

Installation of the electronic freeway management system between the Princes Freeway and the Greensborough Highway is part of the $2.25 billion M80 Ring Road Upgrade being jointly funded by the Federal ($900m) and Victorian ($300m) governments, with the remainder to be sought in future budgets.

Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder said once fully in place, the system will use sensors built into the surface of the road to monitor the flow of traffic and prevent congestion by automatically reducing the number of vehicles entering the freeway via the on-ramps and varying the speed limits along it.

“What’s more, strategically placed electronic message boards will provide motorists with real time information on the traffic conditions which may lie ahead, not only along the M80 but also on key connecting roads,” said Mr Mulder.

“Together with the Federal Government we are rebuilding the M80 into a modern piece of road infrastructure able to support Melbourne’s continued growth and development in the decades ahead.

“While the upgrade will deliver more traffic lanes, it is the electronic freeway management system which will make sure that over the longer term we get the most out of this multi-billion investment including fewer accidents and quicker, more reliability travel times.”

For more details on the M80 Upgrade: www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/m80upgrade.