Docklands dodges a bullet

Docklands dodges a bullet

* This article was published 10 years ago

Docklands shook a monkey off its back last month when the spectre of a choking bridge across the entrance to Victoria Harbour was finally ruled out by the State Government.

For the past decade, the Port of Melbourne Corporation has been threatening to build a low rail bridge just downstream of the Bolte Bridge with neither Labor nor Coalition state governments ruling it out.

The bridge was designed to be only eight metres above the water and Docklanders were united in opposing the plan because of its potential disruption to marine traffic.

A year ago, the Coalition Government’s announcement that Hastings would become Victoria’s second container port relieved tensions in Docklands about the bridge.

But the plan was never officially shelved until April 24 when the Ports Minister Denis Napthine announced a major redevelopment of Webb Dock in Port Melbourne.

The Government announced a $1.2 billion expansion of Webb Dock and the creation of 2600 jobs.

The announcement created renewed fears that the rail bridge would be commissioned to move freight across the river to the port’s major freight handling facilities at its Dynon operation.

Questioned by Docklands News at a press conference, Dr Napthine said none of the extra one million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers expected at Webb Dock would be moved by rail.

He said all the freight would be loaded onto trucks, which would access the Westgate Freeway via specially-built port access roads.

The Premier Ted Baillieu explained that the expansion at Webb Dock was an interim measure while the Port of Hastings was brought on stream.

Port officials said the rail bridge option was considered but, ultimately, the decision was influenced by the state’s major importers who generally had freight terminals only a short distance away and preferred road delivery •

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