Parkland widened among victims like Eastern Freeway for new toll road


A VicRoads design document describes a typical eight-lane urban highway of approximately 44 meters wide.

The highway at Middleborough Road in Box Hill is 111 meters wide. When passing the junction Blackburn Road in Doncaster East it is 100 meters wide.

"This road will take up an enormous amount of land – we're talking about 16 or 20 lanes from Collingwood to Blackburn," said John Stone, a teacher in transport planning at the University of Melbourne.

In Melbourne, only the 300-meter-wide junction between the Monash Freeway and EastLink is larger. And nationally, the Warringah Freeway in Sydney is larger than the Eastern will be.

Also in the Eastern Freeway expansion, land identified for railway stations in Bulleen and East Kew in 2014 is a study for the proposed Doncaster railway.

The road widening will in fact prevent this railway from being built, with a new special busway & # 39; to use land that is needed for a railway reservation.

"They take everything they can get in the highway reserve, including the Doncaster railroad reservation, and then come to the park," said Dr. Stone.

The North East Link connects the Eastern Freeway in Bulleen with the Metropolitan Ring Road in Greensborough.

It is designed to release roads in the northeast, especially on the Rosanna Road in Heidelberg, which has become a major traffic artery.

The business case for road expansion says that the Eastern Freeway is busiest at 6 a.m. & # 39; in the morning and at 3 p.m. & # 39; in the afternoon – instead of during more typical peak hours such as 08:00 or 17:00.

This is because the road simply comes to a standstill during peak hours due to the volume of cars that try to use it.

The junction for the northeast connection to be built in Bulleen.

The junction for the northeast connection to be built in Bulleen.

Photo: North East Link Authority

The country Balwyn North, Bulleen and Doncaster is one of the 1000 hectares affected by the project.

The widest point of added road space is in the Koonung Creek reserve in Balwyn North.

Chris Drieberg and his family built their home across this Balwyn North reserve more than a decade ago. They will now see the motorway coming closer to their home about 50 meters.

Drieberg and wife Sharon walk daily with their dog Aussie in the reserve and the couple has seen the local Boroondara Council, making the reserve slowly a popular destination.

But the motorway extension would make a large part of the park unusable, said Mr Drieberg, who added that his family had always assumed that the motorway would be widened. "But never so much."

Mayor Jim Parke of Boroondara said that six hectares of the 31 hectare reserve would make way for the highway. "This is a considerable loss," he said.

Dr Stone said that taking a park for roadways was the opposite of what other cities around the world were doing in the built-up area. "The smart cities are removing highways to improve parks, and are not taking away parklands to increase highways," he said.

Director of the North East Link Authority, Duncan Elliott, said that everything was done to minimize the impact on parks.

And the Minister of Roads, Luke Donnellan, said that quotations for the construction of the road from the private sector would reduce the consequences for the public land.

"The Eastern Freeway is widened so that the North East Link can do what it has to do – pick up trucks from the local streets and return these streets to local residents," said Mr. Donnellan.

Max Lay is a former director of VicRoads who worked on the Eastern Freeway extension from Doncaster to Nunawading.

"The road is already pretty close to the house," said Dr. Lay, also the author of Melbourne Miles, a history of the roads of the city. "There was never a thought that it [the Eastern Freeway] would be a monster of a road "when it was built, Dr. Lay said.

Clay Lucas is city editor for The Age. Clay has been working at The Age since 2005 and deals with state politics, urban affairs, transport, local government and relationships at work for The Age and Sunday Age.

Transport Reporter at The Age

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