Jun 22, 2011

New lanes open in peak across West Gate Bridge

Melbourne drivers can look forward to quicker, safer and less frustrating travel following today’s commissioning of extra traffic lanes on the West Gate Bridge.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said after 20 months of extensive strengthening work, the Bridge is now able to carry a fifth lane in each direction.

“At completion the project will improve the flow of traffic across the West Gate Bridge, resulting in better driving conditions for the more than 130,000 motorists and 24,000 truck drivers which use this section of Melbourne’s road network every day,” said Mr Albanese.

“The Federal Government is committed to working with the Victorian Government to build the modern, well planned road and rail infrastructure which will prevent Melbourne becoming gridlocked.”

The West Gate Bridge Strengthening Project was delivered by an Alliance comprising VicRoads, John Holland, Sinclair Knight Merz and Flint & Neill, with funding from both the Victorian and Australian governments.

Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the opening of the fifth lane in each direction with completes the freeway management system along the M1 corridor which will now be operational in peak times.

“The opening of the fifth lane on the West Gate Bridge is good news for Melbourne. It will not only mean an end to peak lane closures, but it will also help tackle the City’s traffic congestion and deliver more reliable journeys between the CBD and the Western suburbs,” said Mr Mulder.

“What’s more, in the event of a break down or incident the extra lanes will help keep the traffic flowing with the freeway management system closing lanes and directing traffic safely around the scene.

“All up, over 400,000 bolts and 1,600 tonnes of steel were used to strengthen the Bridge.”

While five lanes are now open in each direction during peak traffic, works will continue on the West Gate Bridge until the end of the year and this will require ongoing off-peak lane closures.

“The majority of lane closures will continue to be implemented at non-peak times. VicRoads will continue to advise motorists of these works and every effort will be made to minimise these disruptions,” Mr Mulder said.

West Gate Bridge users should look up and look ahead to the overhead electronic signs which in the event of a break down or incident will instruct them on the prevailing speed restrictions and lane closures.

Incidents or breakdowns on the Bridge can be reported to VicRoads on 13 11 70.