TRAFFIC delays and road congestion caused dismay on Monday (9 October) among container transport operators in Melbourne as the West Gate Tunnel Project enters a new phase of road closures, lane restrictions and heavy vehicle detours, according to the Container Transport Alliance Australia.

Overhead road works associated with the WGTP have caused significant lane restrictions (westbound and eastbound) on Footscray Road in the Swanson Precinct of the Port of Melbourne.

CTAA director Neil Chambers said transport operators have been left wondering whether the congestion on Monday is what they are likely to experience for several months until the road construction is finalised.

“If that is the case, landside efficiency and productivity at the Port of Melbourne will be severely compromised. Ultimately, this will be to the detriment of importers and exporters, and consumers, in the peak season leading into Christmas,” Mr Chambers said.

“CTAA has been assured today [9 October] that the government is putting in place additional measures to divert private vehicles away from Footscray Road, and to alter the traffic-light sequencing at a number of intersections to allow more trucks to pass per cycle.”

Mr Chambers said Monday was effectively day one of the next phase of road disruptions and closures connected to the WGTP.

“Industry will continue to try to work with the project and the government to overcome the negative impacts of congestion and delays,” Mr Chambers said.

“However, it is clear to the container logistics industry that if the road congestion experienced today continues, then trade through the Port of Melbourne will be negatively impacted to a large degree in what is traditionally its most busy period of operations.”