I drew up a map to show you the congestion south of the city caused by outbound congestion on the West Gate Bridge in the evening. It was a pointless exercise really, as I would have highlighted all of the streets to show congestions.
It used to be rare that streets around the highrise were affected by West Gate Bridge traffic, usually only if there was a major incident on the bridge. It is now quite common without any cause except for the volume of traffic.
Now, you have the pay road, City Link, feeding traffic along the West Gate Freeway to the bridge. There is the Kingsway on ramp entrance and the Power Street entrance. Traffic banks back from the bridge along the West Gate Freeway and causes a bank up in the City Link tunnel, at which point they close a lane to reduce the number of cars feeding through (and they expect people to pay to use the tunnel?). Traffic starts to bank up at the Power Street entrance, back along Power Street, City Road, Southbank Boulevarde into St Kilda Road, and right along the river in the adjacent Alexandra Avenue.
Traffic also banks back along Kingsway and Queens Road. Bank ups in Park Street, South Melbourne westbound, as cars cannot get onto Kingsway and the same for Albert Road, which in turn banks up traffic along St Kilda Road for a short distance.
Worse is the effect on St Kilda Road, where Kingsway begins and is fed by traffic from St Kilda Road, Queens Lane and Toorak Road. It is not rare for traffic to now bank back along St Kilda Road for a kilometre or so to Commercial Road, that is three lanes of solid traffic. Because of the design of where Toorak Road meets St Kilda Road, to get into Kingsway, cars must turn right from Toorak Road, then after a very short distance, turn left. But they have trouble turning left as the intersection is already full of cars. So you get cars stuck in the middle of St Kilda Road and blocking the free passage of trams. An extra lane of cars turning left illegally is often formed, leading to conflict with motorists who want to proceed up St Kilda Road. And never mind the effect on the three bus routes that run along St Kilda Road and through Southbank.
Or bus routes that use the West Gate Bridge. Throw a wet night into the mix and it is chaos of the non organised variety.
My personal record seen for Queens Road, is a bank up back to Queensway and Chapel Street.
So what to do? Add some extra traffic lanes to the bridge? That might alleviate the problem for about five years at my guess.
How about a study to see where people are coming from and going to who use the West Gate Bridge? And then we could hang a rapid railway line on the bridge to give a viable alternative but it must take people from where they are to where they want to go, quickly and efficiently.