Residents of Yarraville in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs have campaigned for years to ban heavy truck traffic through the suburb.
Despite some victories such as truck curfews at night and during school hours, and the promise of eventual diversion of traffic through a planned bypass, residents now face the prospect of B Double trucks being diverted through the suburb.
The Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) has revealed: “From November 1 VicRoads is banning super-sized B double trucks from the West Gate Bridge, apparently [because] it can no longer take the weight. Instead these massive trucks are going to be allowed to use Francis Street in Yarraville to get to the Port of Melbourne.”
MTAG points out that “Francis Street is a narrow residential street with a community centre and child care facilities as well as hundreds of houses. Imagine what it would be like reversing out of your driveway, with the kids in the back seat, into traffic with these monster trucks bearing down on you. These trucks belong on freeways and highways, not narrow residential streets.
“Our community should not have to pay the price of poor VicRoads planning and the failure of state governments to build adequate road infrastructure to the port.
“Citylink and the Bolte Bridge are only 17 years old and were not built to take these trucks, despite being adjacent to the port. Our residential streets were built over 100 years ago and are not designed for them either.”
In the past few decades, the volume of truck traffic passing through Yarraville has increased dramatically, with deleterious effects on residents’ health and quality of life. Studies have shown, for instance, that children living and/or going to school near the truck thoroughfares suffer a greater incidence of asthma than those further away from the diesel fumes.
MTAG added: “We've been told by Premier [Daniel] Andrews that we can't have truck bans until the planned Western Distributor Tollway is built. We say that the freight industry must also wait, until proper road infrastructure is built, to continue to use these monster trucks in the inner west.”