By Mitchell Clarke
Motorists heading into the city from Pakenham already face an arduous commute but the congestion on our roads and public transport networks are only set to get worse, according to a damning new report.
An Infrastructure Australia audit found that by 2031 the morning peak from Pakenham into Melbourne’s CBD will be delayed by 67 minutes, unless tens of billions of dollars are spent on transport solutions.
Despite major projects expanding Melbourne’s road capacity, the influx of residents into the south-east will see widespread congestion in peak periods as a direct result of the city’s growing popularity.
Residents are continuing to seek employment opportunities concentrated in the inner city and as a result, drivers can expect to spend 70 percent of their trip duration sitting in congestion, a 10 percent increase 2016.
Liberal Member for Gembrook Brad Battin has taken aim at the state government, claiming they’re simply not doing enough to combat the growing congestion.
“Everyone in Casey and Cardinia knows travelling to the city is getting worse every year,” Mr Battin said.
“More time stuck on the Monash and less time at home with the family.
“Labor has been in government for 16 of 20 years, and still, they are refusing to build projects like the East-West Link.”
But Member for Bass electorate Jordan Crugnale said that was incorrect and the Labor government is investing more in improving transport for Melbourne’s south east than any government in Victoria’s history.
“Our upgrades to the Monash have already cut travel times, and the North East Link will divert cars and trucks wanting to get to Melbourne’s north and west off the major freeways heading into the city, reducing congestion as our south east grows,” Ms Crugnale said.
The audit takes into consideration the forecasted population boom, with the current population of Cardinia set to increase by more than 70,000 people by 2036 – a 2.9 percent change, the biggest increase for any municipality in the state, second only to the city of Melbourne.
“With six families moving in per day into Cardinia, the Andrews Labor government need to urgently invest in road infrastructure in the south-east,” Mr Battin said.
“Pakenham residents deserve better, the only person stopping residents from getting home to their families sooner is the Andrews Labor government who is refusing to commit to vital road projects in Pakenham.”
Meanwhile, our public transport network is set to take a battering, with the number of trips potentially increasing by 52 percent, significantly higher than projected car use.
Infrastructure Australia credits the rise in popularity of public transport to a direct result of the increased time motorists spend in traffic and the monetary costs of driving due to congestion and parking cost rises.
By 2031, the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines are forecast to approach crush capacity but Ms Crugnale believes the Metro Tunnel will provide some ease.
“The Metro Tunnel will provide room for 121,000 extra peak hour passengers from Pakenham and Cranbourne each week and save up to 50 minutes a day,” she said.
“Local passengers will be the biggest beneficiaries of the project, new high capacity trains and we’ve also removed 11 level crossings with 11 more to go on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.”