A high speed rapid transit busway proposed in the North East Link preliminary designs must be included in early works according to Transport Matters Party leader and member for Eastern Metropolitan Rod Barton.
Last week the Victorian Parliament passed a bill to address the issues between utilities and project proponents during major project developments such as the North East Link and Mr Barton highlighted the need for smart planning and alternative transport services.
“This bill could help ensure the early delivery of the dedicated busway as part of the north-east link project,” Mr Barton said speaking in support of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Amendment Bill 2019.
“That is smart planning, and it would be disastrous if such an important element of the project that would help to reduce congestion during construction and promote alternative transport was held up because of issues and delays in managing utilities.”
The Federal Government has committed $1.75 billion to the North East Link project, with Labor promising an additional $250 million tagged to the rapid transit busway it elected.
“Let’s get that rapid transit busway built first and make public transport a really viable option to reduce congestion and divert people onto buses and away from the North East Link construction,” he said.
Mr Barton is pushing Roads Minister Jaala Pulford and Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne to ensure public transport services are the best option for getting into the city for outer north and north eastern suburbs who will be most effected during North East Link construction disruptions.
“We’ve asked the Minister to detail plans to ensure public transport infrastructure in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne is operating at peak capacity,” he said.
“Public transport needs to be the most attractive solution for travelling during the construction of the north east link.
“I believe we need plans in place now to make sure that people are diverted onto public transport and no onto more rat runs through the suburbs,” he said.
Mr Barton has also pushed for a review of the stage 2 plans on the Hurstbridge Line and asked the Minister to bring those works forward.
“The Hurstbridge line has been flagged by Infrastructure Australia as a major problem with its single-line section and irregular services having flow-on effects down the line, particularly on the Mernda line which shares the rail from Clifton Hill into the city,” he said.
The stage two upgrade currently includes a new station at Greensborough, track duplication between Greensborough and Montmorency and between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen, and additional signalling and track works to address key pressure points along the line.
“I would like to see the track duplication run all the way to Wattle Glen, and I will continue to push to see this work start early,” he said.
Mr Barton will continue to work with the Government and the North East Link construction team to ensure minimum disruptions to public transport services throughout the project.