The road and public transport disruptions you need to know about this summer

car traffic jam

Blanche Clark

Posted December 14, 2021


Summer is here, and that can only mean one thing – a construction blitz on our transport networks.

Along with beach cricket, cocktails and alfresco dining, transport network disruptions have become a staple of our summers.

Freeway and road closures, changed traffic conditions and train replacements all throw a spanner in the works if you haven’t planned ahead, and this year is shaping up to be a doozy with a planned closure of the train network’s City Loop. 

Forewarned is forearmed, so whether you’re off to the city for New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Boxing Day Test or the beach, make sure you check apps such as arevo and websites such as Victoria’s Big Build to help you avoid gridlock.

Here is a quick overview of the major road and public transport projects happening across Victoria that may impact you.


Under construction: major road and rail works

Westgate Freeway

Anyone who regularly uses the Westgate Freeway knows a smooth passage is rarely guaranteed. Lane closures and accidents are frequent, and a trip can take twice as long as you think. In fact, you can expect delays of up to 40 minutes this summer due to the upgrading of ramps and new construction sites to rebuild and widen the freeway by two new through lanes in each direction.

From 11 January to 28 February, disruptions include the closure of the outbound exit ramp to the M80 Ring Road (Greensborough-bound) and the Williamstown Road inbound entry ramp to the West Gate Freeway. You’ll find all the details on the Big Build website.

Level Crossing Removal Project

More than 50 dangerous level crossings have been removed in Victoria thus far, with a planned total of 85 to go by 2025.

Works on the Frankston line, one of Melbourne’s busiest train lines, has been completed and new stations have opened at Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach, but lane closures, reduced speeds, parking closures, footpath closures and bike-lane closures continue throughout January 2022.

Works are underway on the Mernda and Craigieburn lines, so regular users should check for updates to avoid the frustration of discovering buses have replaced trains. The arevo app is a quick way to check for possible tram or train delays and to find an alternative route.

 

tram

Ensure you keep up to date with the major road and rail works that may disrupt your journey this summer. 


 

City Loop closure

The news that the entire City Loop will be shut down for an undefined period next year isn’t great for office workers returning to the CBD. The City Loop is now more than 40 years old and needs its safety faults system fixed. The upgrades at Parliament, Flagstaff and Melbourne Central stations also include an overhaul of the smoke extraction and sprinkler systems.

When the City Loop closure happens, trains will go directly to/from Flinders Street Station, and passengers will need to use tram services to travel around the city. For travel alerts and advanced notice of planned works, visit Metro Trains website.

Tram track upgrades 

Over summer, several tram routes are destined for critical maintenance and upgrade works, including High Street, Kew - between Barkers Road and Burke Road. From 3-18 January, Mount Alexander Road trams will also be affected by works between Travancore and Moonee Ponds. An upgrade of the track in Swan Street, Richmond, will coincide with the return to school but fortunately finish before the T20 INTL series at the MCG on February 20 for those cricket fans travelling from the eastern suburbs.

For live updates and information about disruptions to the PTV network, you can either check the arevo app, or visit the PTV website.

Bicycle network

The Metro Tunnel Project has impacted the bicycle network and created temporary changes for cyclists around Kensington, North Melbourne, Parkville, the CBD and South Yarra. Even with these detours, commuting to the CBD on a bike may be a worthwhile solution while the City Loop is closed.

Two major cycling routes into the city have been improved: Queensberry Street in Carlton and Moray Street in South Melbourne. For those in the west, there is the promise of a continuous bicycle route from Werribee to the city by 2024 as part of the West Gate Tunnel project.

A key part of the Kororoit Creek Trail, between Altona and Brooklyn, is set to reopen by 31 July 2022. Plan your bicycle trips with arevo and get information about the distance, time and best route.

 

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