Friday, May 17, 2013

The Tunnels

The proposed, nay, going ahead, east west link road tunnel will be marvellous for quite a number of commuters. It could remove quite a bit of traffic from Melbourne's inner northern suburbs, depending on how much it costs to use. Great care needs to be taken with the pricing. With the exception of Melbourne's City Link tunnels, with its Kennett government given extremely generous terms, road tunnels have not been commercially successful in Australia for private business. Personally, I don't like the idea of privately owned and operated roads that exclude poor people from using the facility.

Sydney's Cross City Tunnel failed to make a profit, effectively went broke, and share holders lost around half a billion dollars.

Sydney's Lane Cove Tunnel sent its owner broke and was sold for half of what it cost to build.

Brisbane's Clem 7 Tunnel is in receivership, and Brisbane's Airport Link shares are worth one cent each, of what has surely been the most corrupt construction processes in Australia this century.

Now Melbourne is building a private road tunnel, according to our state government, which will not in its present design assist with the massive traffic congestion in Melbourne's prime north south arterial, Hoddle Street/Punt Road. So who will really benefit greatly from this proposed tunnel? I suggest it should be called Fox Tunnel as surely one of the prime beneficiaries will be Australia's largest freight company.

Trouble is that the Federal Government has made an allowance of $3 billion for a Metro Tunnel in Melbourne and nothing for the Fox Tunnel but the State Government has committed funding to the Fox Tunnel and has put the Metro Tunnel on hold.

Which should be built?  The Metro Tunnel of course. It will benefit far more people, like me, than the road tunnel. It is as simple as that.

16 comments:

  1. This situation of the Federal Government offering funding for one transport scheme whilst the State Government wants to fund another has also arisen in NSW. If I were cynical I might think it is a strategy tacitly agreed between them to appear to be offering funding they never intend to provide.

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    1. Quite possibly Victor, but I am sure like Melbourne, the road lobby in Sydney is very strong.

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  2. no stupid foreign-owned roads or tunnels at all thanks. the E-W will merely encourage people who live in Wandin to think it is feasible to work in Deer Park. It is not. We have to stop the culture of commuting vast vast distances for work, and then complaining about what the muslims charge for their fuel.

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    1. Ann, you have clarity of thought. If a superb train service was offered into the city, surely that must reduce the traffic by a substantial amount.

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  3. Boycott private tunnels, overpasses and freeways! Tell the politicians why we are doing it.


    I will boycott them, but I realise of course that will increase the length of the trip, cost more in petrol and clog up the streets surrounding the private freeway or tunnel.

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    1. The other aspect of all this tunnel vision (in Brisbane, at least) is the structural damage done to homes above them from excavation vibrations (despite promises to the contrary and denials of responsibility) and the exhaust towers plonked beside homes and spewing out carbon monoxide.

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    2. Hels, certainly think twice before using them. I detest City Link but do use it at times. I never minded throwing 20 cents into the bucket at the beginning of the Westgate Bridge as it went to the government.

      Fig, we had a similar situation when the Albert Park car racing circuit was being built. Fortunately for the taxpayer, special legislation was enacted to prevent home owners making claim. Outrageous really.

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  4. Yes, Victor, a charade.

    Sorry, ladies. I drive 76 km each way to work because I live in an ageist country run by idiots [regardless of political colour]. The alternative is to starve.
    The casualisation of the labour force is a structural change we did not need and just another consequence of price/ benefits being couched only in dollar terms.
    A job with no guarantee of any work at all - while being forced to sit around 24/7 "just in case" an emplyer calls, is not a job. Rich or poor, we need some kind of income certainty if we are to budget for anything.

    I doubt the e/w tunnel is a great priority. One argument against is, quite rightly, the damage things like tunnels [or grand prixs] do to innocent neighbours' properties, or to public spaces. One argument for is that it would reduce the traffic in residential areas e.g. hoddle st/ alexandra pde /royal park.
    If infrastructure costs taxpayers something this is not always a bad thing, and the user pays principle ignores costs/benefits to non-users.

    The tunnel would be greatly convenient for me but I will not use it simply because I won't be able to afford it, and so will continue to drive through residential areas.

    I don't buy into the argument that building roads simply creates traffic, rather, I believe it simply diverts it. Roads are not sufficient on their own to call up jobs to drive to, or the cars to drive on them.

    Improved public transport infrastructure would, nonetheless, make a lot more sense. Here, too, the user pays principle needs some redefinition.

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    1. FC, your work travelling distance is absurd. Is there no 'street work' in FKN where an easier buck could be made?

      I think the Fox Tunnel is a priority for our State Government. I can't see it making much difference to Hoddle Street. It will make a difference to those along Alexandra Parade. Traffic through Royal Park is not very noticeable to park users, well I have found so.

      It has been suggested that it might be $10 to travel through it. By the time it is finished, it may well be, but I should think around $6.

      The Metro Tunnel, if well managed, would clear a lot of traffic from roads and make your travelling life a bit easier. Regardless, neither will built by the time you stop working.

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    2. Andrew, I tried street work for a while, but might just have well been a casual on call at the local Michel's Patisserie for all the good it did.
      The one day I did well netted a two cent piece - all I got was the tip.

      Traffic thru Royal Park is not a nuisance to park users, but it is a nuisance to drive thru.

      BTW the fktn/crnbne intersection w mcclelland is hell now. The freeway has simply relocated the bottle neck... and now we are to have 3 months of roadwork at the intersection.

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  5. FC, I did think that intersection might be a problem. Just too many people missy.

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  6. Once again I'm gobsmacked that you have to pay to go through your tunnels Andrew. Only yesterday we went through the Graham Farmer tunnel that takes you through to the South or North of the river depending where you're coming from.. It makes it too easy. I can't imagine having to pay for the privilege!

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    1. Grace, and nor is it cheap. Home to Mother's is a fifty minute drive using the tunnels and is about $12 for the return trip.

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  7. Grace better not drive in Sydney, she would be shocked at all the toll roads we have here. There is even an an off ramp from the Warringah Freeway (ironic) which I doubt is even 100 metres long for which there is a charge.

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    1. Victor, Sydney tolls are horrendous if you add a few together when you are going a long distance.

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    2. Seriously $12 + on top of the outrageous price of petrol, you have some bad stuff going on there :)

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