Friday, December 29, 2006

The Westgate

Quiet time of the year. Not many cars on the roads. Good time to do roadworks.


Yesterday we drove to Altona using the Westgate Freeway and Westgate Bridge. Some road lanes are being resurfaced on the bridge, so two lanes were closed. The traffic was banked back to the Kingsway on ramp and stop start until we cleared the bridge. The trip to Altona that normally takes us fifteen minutes took an hour.

We were not in a rush but I was getting quite annoyed. VicRoads could do the work at night time, but I expect they don't want to pay the extra cost. Instead the extra cost is shifted to the road users.

Trucks, cars, vans, caravans all sitting idling burning through their fuel.
Putting the air con on as there is no air flow at that speed uses extra fuel.
We saw two minor accidents, one requiring a tow truck.
We saw a bit of road rage against those trying to get ahead a bit and some deliberate blocking.
Missed appointments, missed delivery times, missed work starting times.
From the City, the Westgate is more or less the only way to get to Avalon Airport. How many people missed flights?

Checking this morning, by eight a.m. the VicRoads website was indicating 'heavy', which means it is already stop start and won't clear until the evening peak I would guess. This work is to continue until the eighth of January. How much extra fuel will be burnt over that period? How many extra accidents? How many missed flights? How many missed appointments?

Yes, the cost has well and truly been shifted from VicRoads budget to the user and society generally.


  1. I went over the Westgate bridge twice before Christmas and read the sign and I thought "many people are gonna be screwed by that if they don't research their journeys first".
    But I didn't think of the poor Jetstar passengers - they have to be at the checkin well-before their flights or they forfeit the whole thing.
    In the lead up to our Festival Of Retail Excess, everybody is distracted and busy and even if there had been adverts in prime time TV, not everybody would have seen them.

    It's Dangerous Out There folks!

  2. i drive over the westgate everyday, for the past few weeks they've had the 'seek alternative route: roadworks' thing up, indicating dates and stuff.

    but i can imagine the trauma of it. i hate that bridge.
    my bro used to work for vicroads and he admits that whenever they can save a dime, they do it.
    it's unlikely they'll ever work at night for something like that

  3. Just dropping in to say g'day (have been slack in commenting, but not in keeping up with life in the fast lane High Rise world) and to pass on belated seasonal (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, amongst others) greetings, but I note that, as usual, my dearly beloved (cousin that is) has already dipped in with a comment at the top of the totem pole.

    Anyway cyber cobber, mate, china, hope you had (and it seems you did have) a good'n.

  4. Yes Brownie, Jetstar wait for no-one. I have caught a flight from Avalon and I am sure I would have allowed plenty of extra time but I am not sure if I would have allowed that much. I did actually know about the roadworks via the radio, but I did not think it would be that bad.

    As I thought Kiki, but there must be a better way.

    Greetings Mi'lord. Nice to hear from you. You can't help your rels I suppose.

  5. I have very few of them so I have to cherish them. Mind you luvly cuz'n Brownie is very easy to cherish.

  6. Oh, dude... you can totally miss the Westgate and get onto the freeway to Avalon. I do it all the time (missing the Westgate, not going to Avalon). Cut through Footscray. Adds five minutes onto your drive time but saves in other ways.

  7. Yes, Ren. As soon as we started I suggested we get straight off, but martyr said no, and I probably would have had to stop to check the way......maybe not.