Tuesday, November 25, 2008

West Gate Bridge Traffic

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.


  1. Anonymous1:42 pm

    You could, alternatively, give away a parcel of land to entice more traffic (that is, if you're Eastlink).
    Is it just me or is that a remarkably stupid thing to do?

  2. The changes they're making to the Westgate effectively mean an extra lane in the peak direction.

    From memory even the RACV admitted it would fill again within ten years.

  3. A train link between commonly used areas? That would just make too much sense, besides, additional road capacity has been proven to increase congestion, not reduce it, as supply roads become more heavily used. No matter what the solution though it'll all cost money, which means the government, as always will stall for as long as possible

  4. Well, don't ask the NSW Government or bureaucracy to conduct the study.

    On the other hand if you just want some new rail line announced, but not actually realised, then the NSW Government has years of relevant expertise.

  5. Remains to be seen if it was a good marketing idea, but it seemed odd to me. But thinking further, perhaps not. It has people thinking about using Eastlink just by the publicity.

    Daniel, I know about it and of course it happens on a few roads around Melbourne, or maybe not so many nowadays. It happens on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but I am not sure how it will work when you have a big dividing section of concrete to safely separate traffic travelling in opposite directions? No doubt all will be revealed at some time.

    Kezza, they are never proactive are they, just mop up the damage in a piecemeal manner.

    No danger of me asking that Victor. I am thinking frying pan to fire.

  6. I love that we here in Tasmania get mardy when we are stuck in a ten minute traffic jam...it seems quite quaint!

  7. They have traffic jams in Tasmania?

  8. I travel on the Westgate twice a year. Once down to Lorne and again on the return. I do it at night as the traffic is obviously better, but I do see the mess spilling out onto St Kilda Rd on a daily basis and it's creeping further and further into the rest of the day.

    This is the 21st century. These problems can be fixed, but get weighed down by political considerations as well as those who lobby. Bah!

  9. Anonymous11:17 pm

    They have no trains, Victor. I expect nothing less.

  10. Ban cars and make the lazy sods walk :P *insert evil laugh here

  11. I can imagine Miles, and welcome.

    I can recall some congestion in Launceston Victor.

    Lucky there was some foresight in the early part of the last century Rob, or what a mess we would be in.

    Bit weird not having passenger trains hey Reuben.

    All very well for you with your broomstick Jayne.

  12. The congestion is caused by darlings wishing to view the RH Temple of Extreme Thought: a little wooden house near Westgate Bridge. Neighbours in my area have asked me to move, but shopkeepers won't hear of it; sales have tripled since I began living here. Meanwhile love is at an alarming level.
    The roar begins at five a.m.

  13. The very reason I go to work through Newmarket and not over the Westgate Bridge is just that..the traffic is unreal!!

  14. Cazzie the RH Temple of Extreme Thought is well-secured.

    But I leave the door open -for you.

  15. Quite unlikely Robert. More likely on their way to Willietown for a latte.

    And Cazzie, I bet you never get trapped in Newmarket, just slowed at times.

  16. Things will sure speed up if she comes to my place.

  17. She is happily married Robert, with adorable children.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.