Melbourne needs new roads, says expert

Driverless cars will change the way we use roads in the future but Melbourne still needs a replacement for the dumped East West Link, a transport expert says.

The architect of Melbourne's dumped East West link is pleading with the federal and state governments to "get on with it" and build the roads needed to ease city congestion.

Sir Rod Eddington, the author of a grand blueprint for Melbourne congestion from 2008, says despite a future of driverless and electric cars changing the landscape of driving, the congestion that would have been solved by East West Link still exists.

"I don't need to tell you that it became something of a political football," he told an Infrastructure Partnerships Australia luncheon in Melbourne on Thursday.

"Although the East West tunnel hasn't gone ahead in the form in which I reflected, it's really important that we address the challenges in that corridor, and to be frank, get on with it.

"It's been some time since we've had a major road project in Victoria, particularly in Melbourne, and it's important for livability's sake that we do that."

Melbourne has "a lot of eggs in the West Gate Bridge basket" and a second crossing of the Maribyrnong River is needed - whether it's a tunnel or a bridge, Sir Rod added.

And the proposed $5.5 billion West Gate Tunnel toll road addresses the very important issue of truck traffic heading to the Port of Melbourne.

Governments are also increasingly struggling to find money to build roads themselves and without private sector capital they won't get done, Sir Rod said.

Other recommendations from the 2008 Eddington report are already underway, with regional rail upgrades almost complete and the Melbourne Metro Tunnel starting construction.

The year-long study by Sir Rod proposed an $18 billion, 10-year program of road and rail tunnels, extensions of existing rail lines and a plan to keep heavy vehicles from clogging suburban streets.

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