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Metro Tunnel

EES assessment of traffic and transport impacts

The Metro Tunnel will result in some changes to Melbourne's traffic and transport conditions during the construction and operation phases of the project.

The Environment Effects Statement for the project assessed the temporary and permanent changes to traffic and transport conditions as a result of the Metro Tunnel.

It also outlined key Environmental Performance Requirements that set out mitigation measures to manage adverse impacts to traffic and transport.

Traffic and transport studies

Transport modelling was undertaken to understand current and anticipated future traffic conditions within each precinct along the project corridor.

Traffic modelling considered:
  • Existing conditions and local road network performance
  • Predicted future transport conditions in 2021, with and without the construction of the Metro Tunnel taking place at the time
  • Predicted future transport conditions in 2031, with and without the completion of the project.

Assessments considered the impact on the metropolitan rail network, tram network, bus network, road network, and cycling and pedestrian routes.

Understanding potential changes in transport and traffic conditions

The proposed construction sites and future stations are located in central Melbourne, where many of the city's metropolitan rail and tram routes converge. These are complemented by high frequency and well-patronised bus routes, freeways, arterials and local roads.

With most construction activity taking place below ground, the construction impacts of the project on transport networks and connectivity will be minimised.

The main construction-related impacts will be:

  • Truck movements generated by the need to remove excavated material and deliver equipment to the proposed station locations.
  • The temporary changed conditions of roads during construction, which will potentially impact local traffic patterns, bus and tram operations, and cycling and pedestrian access.
  • The presence of a large construction workforce which will generate additional local traffic activity.

Managing changes to traffic and transport

The majority of changes in traffic and transport conditions will be temporary to allow for the safe construction of the project in a densely populated urban environment.

A number of mitigation measures were proposed in the project's EES to avoid, reduce or offset transport impacts. These measures form the basis of the recommended Environmental Performance Requirements for the Metro Tunnel and have been recommended by specialists through the EES process.

The Environmental Performance Requirements define the outcomes that must be achieved during the design, construction and operational phases of the project. This approach is designed to ensure the project delivers a net benefit to the community, and in the process encourage innovation and flexibility from the construction contractor in how they meet these requirements.

Recommended Environmental Performance Requirements included developing and implementing a transport management plan in consultation with the relevant road management authorities to minimise disruption to traffic, car parking, pedestrian and bicycle movements during construction.

Transport management plans for each precinct will include designated construction truck routes for each precinct with the aim of moving construction traffic away from local areas to arterial roads and freeways as quickly as possible. They will also include emergency access arrangements, suggested sites for workforce parking and the provision of suitable routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

Our construction contractors will also be required to develop and implement measures to minimise disruption to public transport networks resulting from the construction of the project in consultation with the relevant road management authorities and Public Transport Victoria.

Truck movements

The construction of the Metro Tunnel will generate a large amount of excavated material that will need to be transported from construction areas for disposal or reuse. Materials and equipment to build the tunnels and stations will also be delivered to construction work sites by trucks.

These activities will potentially add to existing traffic activity and may temporarily impact local traffic conditions and the amenity of nearby residences and businesses.

Construction teams will move trucks carrying excavated material from construction sites to the arterial road network as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Examples of roads proposed to be used by construction traffic include:

  • Kensington Road
  • Dynon Road
  • Flemington Road
  • CityLink
  • Lonsdale Street
  • King Street
  • Batman Avenue
  • Kings Way
  • St Kilda Road
  • Montague Street
  • Toorak Road. 

The predicted daily truck movements will not create substantial increases in daily traffic volumes on these arterial roads.

Truck movements will mostly occur outside peak periods and mainly during daytime hours in residential areas. There will be a need for some truck movements 24 hours a day at times during construction at certain locations - potential routes will recognise sensitive land uses and times of usage will be planned accordingly.

Work that is undertaken above ground will generally occur during standard construction hours of 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays. Underground tunnelling works will generally occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week along with above ground sites that support tunnelling and fit-out activities at stations.

Car parking

In some precincts, construction works will result in the temporary and permanent loss of car parking spaces. Detailed transport management plans will include measures to minimise disruption to traffic, car parking, pedestrian and bicycle movements during construction. This will include replacement parking and providing suitable alternate routes for vehicles to maintain connectivity for road users.

After construction is finished, optimal parking provision in the area will be determined with a view to minimising the permanent loss of parking, where possible.

Temporary network changes

Road and lane closures

The construction of the Metro Tunnel will require some temporary changes to the surrounding road network, including:

  • Grattan Street (Parkville) to be reduced to one way movement eastbound from Flemington Road to Royal Parade and closed between Royal Parade and Leicester Street
  • closure of Barry Street (Parkville) between Grattan Street and Pelham Street
  • closure of Franklin St between Swanston Street and Bowen Street and truncation of A'Beckett Street at Swanston Street
  • St Kilda Road reconfigured to one traffic lane in each direction between Domain Road and Toorak Road with tram, pedestrian and bicycle access maintained
  • closure of Domain Road between St Kilda Road and Dallas Brooks Drive
  • other roads will be closed on a temporary basis to facilitate specific works.

Parkville and Domain stations will be constructed using a 'cut and cover' method to build the stations, requiring full or part closures of sections of the surrounding roads. We have conducted engineering and geotechnical work to confirm that CBD North and CBD South stations can be constructed entirely underground. This will significantly minimise the impact on Swanston Street and nearby cross-streets such as Collins Street and La Trobe Street.

Public transport

The construction methodology for the two CBD stations will allow trams to keep running on Swanston and Flinders streets. It will also reduce the impact on users of public transport, bicycle lanes and footpaths on nearby cross-streets such as Collins Street and La Trobe Street.

There may still be some temporary disruptions or diversions to tram services along these routes during construction. Similarly, trams will keep running along Royal Parade and St Kilda Road where possible while the new Parkville and Domain stations are constructed.

Buses will continue to service the hospital and education precinct in Parkville, and diversion routes will be finalised in conjunction with PTV closer to major construction commencing.

Construction of Parkville Station in Grattan Street will require the diversion of the 401, 402, 403, 505 and 546 buses, whilst St Kilda Road buses will continue operation during works for Domain Station.

Trams currently travelling along Domain Road and Park Street in South Yarra will need to be re-routed via Toorak Road West due to the temporary closure of Domain Road. To facilitate this change, new tram infrastructure will be installed along Toorak Road West between Park Street and St Kilda Road.

Construction of the tunnel entrances in Kensington and South Yarra will require temporary occupations of existing railway lines during different stages of connecting the twin tunnels to the rail network.

PTV will work with MMRA to minimise disruption to passengers and any changes to services will be communicated ahead of the scheduled impact.

In precincts with high levels of walking and cycling movements, construction activities will need to be managed. Temporary alternative cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be put in place.

Permanent network changes

Road network

The operation of the Metro Tunnel may facilitate some permanent changes to the road network, including:

  • Grattan Street (Parkville) to be reduced to one traffic lane in each direction between Flemington Road and Leicester Street with enhanced connections for buses and cyclists
  • Royal Parade (Parkville), southbound, no right turn into Grattan Street
  • closure of Franklin Street between Swanston Street and Bowen Street and truncation of A'Beckett Street at Swanston Street
  • Franklin Street (west of Swanston Street) will have two lanes eastbound and one lane westbound with both eastbound lanes required to turn left.
  • St Kilda Road reconfigured to three traffic lanes in each direction between Domain Road and Toorak Road during peak hour with additional road space for cyclists
  • closure of left turn from St Kilda Road to Albert Road (in vicinity of 1 Albert Road).

The final configuration of the road network at these locations will ultimately be determined by the relevant road authorities. See the Changes to roads and transport page for the latest details.

Public transport

The project facilitates an opportunity to begin the transformation into a metro style service, with capacity to move more people in peak periods and deliver more reliable, more frequent and less crowded services.

The project will also be a catalyst for PTV to make changes to the tram network in Melbourne's CBD, as passengers will have an alternative to Swanston Street tram services for access between St Kilda Road, Parkville and the CBD. Although not part of the scope of Metro Tunnel, the project creates the opportunity for PTV to redistribute tram capacity to where it is most needed, in the growing western end of the CBD.

New accessible tram stops at Royal Parade and St Kilda Road will improve connectivity to the new stations and provide additional access to key medical, educational and employment hubs.

No significant changes will be made to bus routes, other than a review of the frequency of routes 401 and 402 that are effectively replaced by the Metro Tunnel from Arden Station to Parkville Station. During construction and in the longer term, PTV may review the existing bus network to ensure routes and services align with construction activities and any changing passenger demands. See the Changes to roads and transport page for the latest details.

Pedestrian and cycling

The project provides the opportunity to significantly enhance the pedestrian and cycling environment around station precincts. All stations will be designed to accommodate higher levels of pedestrian activity safely and efficiently. Improvements to pedestrian routes may include widened footpaths, redesigned streetscapes and new pedestrian crossings.

Bicycle infrastructure delivered as part of the project will include new on-road bicycle lanes and additional bicycle parking spaces at stations. See the Changes to the bicycle network page for the latest details.