Released in February 2019, the Infrastructure Priority List presents 121 significant proposals for the next 15 years of infrastructure investment in Australia. It includes eight high priority projects.
HIGH PRIORITY PROJECTS
Brisbane Metro in Queensland
Demand for public transport in Brisbane is increasing with employment growth in the CBD and population growth in outer suburbs. It is predicted that the number of bus passengers is going to increase by 58% to 581,000 passengers boarding a bus each day by 2031.
Currently, buses compete with other traffic at intersections causing delays. Bus stations are also congested, with limited platform capacity and inefficient customer boarding practices.
Brisbane Metro proposes a set of infrastructure and non-infrastructure changes to bus services in inner Brisbane such as removing key infrastructure bottlenecks on the South East busway, including constructing a new underground station and a tunnel, using longer, higher-capacity Metro vehicles with faster and easier boarding and alighting, and revised service patterns to increase the frequency and truncate lower use services.
The project would complement Cross River Rail by providing for interchange between the bus and rail networks south of the CBD, and at Roma Street.
Sydney Metro City and Southwest in New South Wales
High-frequency rail connection between Chatswood and Bankstown via Sydney CBD
Sydney’s CBD rail network is near capacity at peak periods, and some key routes are expected to reach capacity in the early 2020s. By 2036, demand is expected to exceed network capacity.
Sydney Metro City & Southwest is the second stage of the broader Sydney Metro project. It will deliver 30.5 km of metro rail between Chatswood and Bankstown.
The project has two stages: a 17.1 km section between Chatswood and Sydenham that is primarily tunnelled; and a 13.4 km section between Sydenham and Bankstown, involving the conversion of the existing Bankstown rail line to metro operations.
The project includes new underground metro stations at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt Street, Central and Waterloo.
M80 Ring Road Upgrade in Victoria
The M80 Metropolitan Ring Road connects major population centres in Melbourne’s north and west to the CBD and elsewhere, and facilitates access to Melbourne’s port, airports and other major road corridors.
Congestion on the M80 is increasing average travel times in the area and without additional investment the annual cost of congestion along the corridor is projected to grow from $86 million in 2011 to $161 million in 2031.
The project proposes to complete three sections of the freeway that have yet to be upgraded. These are:
- Plenty Road to Greensborough Highway (2.4 km)
- Princes Freeway to Western Highway(7.9 km)
- Sydney Road to Edgars Road (4 km).
The project would widen the existing road to a minimum of three through lanes in each direction, with auxiliary lanes between interchanges where required and implement Intelligent Transport Systems infrastructure.
Construction of the sections from Plenty Road to Greensborough Highway and Sydney Road to Edgars Road is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in late 2021.
M4 Motorway Upgrade
Parramatta to Lapstone in New South Wales
The population of the main M4 catchment area is expected to grow by 44.5% between 2011 and 2031. Nearby developments, such as the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek and the Western Sydney Employment Area will also add to the demand on the corridor. A range of measures will be introduced to increase the capacity of the M4 between Mays Hill (near Parramatta) and Lapstone at the base of the Blue Mountains such as:
- the introduction of Intelligent Transport System measures, including ramp signals, vehicle detection devices and electronic signage
- upgrades to entry and exit ramps
- new freight bypass lanes at three entry ramps – westbound at the M7 and the Prospect Highway, and eastbound at Roper Road, Colyton – which would give priority to trucks and improve merging onto the motorway
- a new communications and power ‘backbone’ along the motorway.
The project also includes the construction of an additional lane in each direction in the median along a 4.3 km section of the motorway, between the Roper Road and M7 interchanges.
Western Sydney Airport in New South Wales
The demand for flights in the Sydney region is forecast to double over the next 20 years, beyond the capacity of Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.
The need for an additional airport was identified as a high priority.
Western Sydney Airport will cater to domestic and international passengers, as well as freight services, initially with a single 3,700 m runway and facilities for 10 million passengers per annum.
The airport construction commenced in 2018 and it is scheduled to open in 2026. Western Sydney Airport will be developed in stages as demand grows with a second runway added when needed. In 2063, the airport is expected to accommodate approximately 82 million passengers annually.
Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 in Victoria
The Monash Freeway is a critical transport link to Melbourne’s south-east and outer south-east regions, carrying over 470,000 trips per day.
Currently, there is insufficient capacity along the Monash corridor to support growing freight and commuter demand, particularly where the Monash Freeway intersects with the Princes Freeway, and at entry and exit ramps on the Monash Freeway.
Rapid population and employment growth is expected in Melbourne’s south-east and outer south-east.
The Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 works comprise additional freeway lanes to the west of Eastlink and east of Clyde Road, an extension of the managed motorway technology, and improved connections to the freeway at Beaconsfield.
METRONET: Yanchep Rail extension in Western Australia
Perth’s north-west sub-region is experiencing rapid population growth. After 2021, this growth is anticipated to increasingly concentrate in the City of Wanneroo due to its supply of undeveloped urban-zoned land and continuing demand for coastal living.
By 2050, the City of Wanneroo is projected to accommodate nearly three-quarters of the sub-region’s total population.
Without high-quality public transport services, Perth’s growing but low-density northern suburbs risk having high levels of car ownership and use. This is already placing pressure on the road network and causing congestion.
The Yanchep Rail Extension is a project within the Western Australian Government’s METRONET rail program. It would extend the Joondalup Line from Butler Station to Yanchep, 14.5 km to the north, with new stations at Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep. The new line will include grade separations and over-bridges at key road crossings.
Parking bays will be provided at each station, and upgrades to the bus network will increase feeder services, enabling more people to travel to and from the train stations using buses.
Six train services would be provided from Yanchep towards the CBD during the morning peak hour.
North East Link in Victoria
There is currently a ‘missing link’ between the M80 Metropolitan Ring Road in Melbourne’s north and the M3 Eastern Freeway–EastLink in Melbourne’s east and south-east.
The current route is congested and operating close to capacity during peak periods, limiting commercial and freight transport activities. Each day, these roads carry around 250,000 trips between the north-east and inner Melbourne, and around 340,000 orbital trips.
Further population growth in these areas, along with the future expansion of major industrial precincts in the north and south-east, will generate even higher traffic volumes, making local road congestion worse.
The North East Link project would create a new 11 km connection (including 5 km of three-lane twin tunnels) between the M80 Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough and the M3 Eastern Freeway at Doncaster. The project also includes:
- approximately 2.3 km of upgrades to the M80, and approximately 9.7 km of
upgrades to the Eastern Freeway
- five new interchanges
- around 10.6 km of new bus lanes
- upgrades to Bulleen Road
- new walking and cycling paths.
Queensland seems to have missed out on priority funding with only 14% of Queensland projects included in the updated priority list. With the upcoming election, it looks like QLD’s infrastructure is likely to become a political battleground.
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Videos credit: Youtube – Brisbane City Council, Transport for NSW, VicRoads, Spatial Media, Western Sydney Airport, Metronet Perth
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