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Monash Freeway Roadworks Déjà vu

Monash Freeway Roadworks Déjà vu

I was struck with a case of Déjà vu the other night, as my car sat stationary amongst the Monash Freeway roadworks.  It was only eight years ago that part of Melbourne’s South East Arterial, the Monash Freeway, was barricaded off while an extra lane was added to coincide with the opening of the intersecting Eastlink tollway.  Now they’re doing it again, adding another lane to cope with increased peak traffic volumes.

In 2008 I was commuting to-and-from the Western Suburbs every day, so I spent a lot of time either stopped or crawling on the freeway.  Back then, having a camera in your phone was still a novelty and I remember taking a lot of photos with my, then new, Nokia 6500.  Using your phone while driving wasn’t as big of a deal that it is now, so I would sometimes take photos of the traffic and roadworks around me whenever the traffic wasn’t moving.  The recent Déjà vu reminded me of those Nokia photos (and the dedicated Flickr account I’d set up), and prompted me to take a similar picture this week before the outbound Stud Road exit.

Technically I was breaking the law by taking a photo on the road this week, but with my car at a complete stop, along with all the vehicles around me, I reckon it was pretty safe to snap the comparison shot (below) with my iPhone.

Monash Freeway roadworks 2016 approaching Stud Road, Melbourne.

Monash FWY roadworks 2016

Monash Freeway roadworks 2008 approaching Stud Road, Melbourne.

Monash FWY roadworks 2008

Eight years might be a long time in the progress of mobile phones with built-in cameras, but that’s nothing when it comes to our road infrastructure.  Where was the planning and forethought eight or ten years ago?  Surely the government’s money would have been better spent building an extra two lanes in 2008, rather than carry out similar roadworks again so soon.  Lets hope this is the last time we will see such widespread roadworks to expand the Monash Freeway!

Westgate Bridge Closed, traffic stuffed!

Westgate Bridge Closed, traffic stuffed!

Westgate Freeway traffic jam caused by the Westgate Bridge closure following a fatality

The traffic in Melbourne’s west was horrible today, caused by a motorcycle fatality on the inbound lanes of the Westgate Bridge.

I’ve been driving around Melbourne for a long time.  From the early 1990’s I worked weekends as a taxi driver.  In the mid 1990’s I was a courier driver, before moving into heavy vehicles.  Between 2004 and 2009 I commuted from the outer east to the outer west for a transport management role.  These days I’m driving trucks around Melbourne and regional Victoria.  Today was the worst traffic I have ever experienced.

Today started with what should have been a simple job, a quick run across town for a simple delivery.  I left the depot in Knoxfield at 6.15am and arrived at my delivery in Melton at 7.25, which was a good time as the morning peak was starting to wind up.  Ten minutes later I was heading back towards Knoxfield, but I was expecting traffic to get busy as I made my way through peak hour.  Just after the Boundry Road exit on the Western Ring Road the traffic started to slow.  This is normal as you approach the merge with the Geelong freeway.  At 8.30am I heard the traffic report on the radio say the Westgate Bridge was closed, so I sent my boss an SMS to say it might take me a bit longer to get back.  That SMS was my understatement of the day.  Three hours later, I still hadn’t made it to the next exit, Millers Road.  Three hours to travel five kilometres!  Finally I made it back to the Knoxfield depot at 2pm.

Today certainly opened my eyes as to what can happen when the main crossing of the Yarra River, from the western suburbs towards Melbourne, is closed.  I don’t want to get into politics, but maybe there is merit in the Western Distributor Project the current state government is undertaking.  At least it will give us a second river crossing in the west, even if it does mean more tolls.