As an avid spectator of cartography, admirer of the aesthetics of freeway design and a Melway enthusiast; I am certainly hard-pressed to critique the development of a limited-access road.
However, with VicRoads’ latest release of an Outer Ring Road survey comprising imminent land acquisition, I am in awe of the proposed engineering feat while sceptical as to the worthiness of the project. The freeway, spanning the Donnybrook-Sunbury-Rockbank-Werribee urban sprawl (or chasm) has spurred my thoughts thus: Non-plussed in the extreme.
Certainly, Melbourne’s freeway network is already (and only recently) at its apex? A second Western Ring Road and the accompanied Footscray Westlink tunnel, also coupled with the mooted North-East Link tunnelling below the Greensborough Highway and Heidelberg would turn Melbourne into a cesspit of thoroughfares which would do nothing to complement the social and indeed civic fabric of our revered communities.
VicRoads says: “The Outer Metropolitan Ring / E6 Transport Corridor is being planned to accommodate a 100 kilometre long high-speed transport link” -could 100 km of new freeway with multi-tiered junctions with the M31, M79, M8 and M1 really be justified in the face of chronic public transport crises, as even now the train network is at capacity and severely lacks in maintenance, infrastructure and investment? Surely, the money (as that of the failed Myki card) could be better spent on establishing a rapid transit system; a high-speed underground train network planned entirely from scratch.
Images Courtesy of The Age
In short, too many freeways can be a bad thing. Ask Londoners about their brush with epic Motorway disaster.
Map of the proposed Ring Road here: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/RoadProjects/PlanningAndProposals/Melbourne/OMRE6DetailedDesignMaps.htm