Melbourne’s ‘missing link’ set for $100m Budget injection
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says his Government is getting on with building the crucial North East Link, with next week’s State Budget to include $100 million to kick-start design, planning and pre-construction works.
The Premier announced this week that detailed design and engagement will take place throughout the year, with procurement starting next year, contracts signed in 2019 and construction beginning soon after.
Work is set to start immediately – spearheaded by the expert North East Link Authority – with geotechnical investigations starting this month at 24 sites across Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs.
The North East Link will connect the Metropolitan Ring Road (M80) at Greensborough with either the Eastern Freeway or Eastlink. The independent Infrastructure Victoria identified it as the State’s highest priority next infrastructure project.
Mr Andrews says local residents, motorists, the freight industry and businesses will see extensive community consultation with sessions scheduled across the project area from mid-year.
For further information about the project, visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au
First stage of Ipswich Motorway upgrades set to start
Relief is in sight for the 85,000 motorists using the Ipswich Motorway daily, with the contract awarded last week for the $400 million Ipswich Motorway Upgrade from Rocklea to Darra Stage 1.
The contract has been awarded to the Brisbane-based Bielby Hull Albem Joint Venture.
The project will see the upgrading of the Ipswich Motorway from four to six lanes along a three-kilometre stretch between Rocklea and Oxley.
"The contractors will now start detailed design, and will be onsite to begin works later this year,” Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said last week.
"Focusing on improving the motorway’s flood immunity, work will include constructing higher bridges over the Oxley Creek area, which will see a more reliable, safer motorway through Oxley and Rocklea, improving productivity and benefiting all South East Queenslanders."
The Ipswich Motorway Upgrade is a jointly funded project, with the Australian and Queensland government each committing $200 million. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020, weather permitting.
NTC seeks feedback on proposal for drivers to allow hands off the wheel
The National Transport Commission (NTC) has this month released a discussion paper on the development of national enforcement guidelines to clarify if the human driver or the automated driving system is in control at certain levels of driving automation.
NTC Chief Executive, Paul Retter, says agreement on a position about the definition of ‘proper control’ is a fundamental step in preparing Australia for the safe deployment of automated vehicles.
“Our existing road transport laws are based on the principle that the human driver is in control of the vehicle. Vehicles with an automated driving system that can perform parts of the driving task challenge these concepts of control,” Mr Retter said.
“We need to arrive at an agreed position early to provide certainty for police and enforcement agencies.
“Agreeing on a nationally-consistent approach is also expected to provide more certainty for consumers, automotive manufacturers and insurers around the question of who may be liable for damages following a crash or incident involving automated vehicles.
“National guidelines will help ensure drivers are treated consistently in different parts of the country.”
One proposal in the discussion paper considers allowing a driver to supervise automated driving without needing to have a hand on the wheel for certain levels of driving automation. This would include introducing new indicators related to alertness and readiness to intervene.
The discussion paper explores three key questions:
- Who is in control of an automated vehicle – the human driver or the entity responsible for the automated driving system?
- How should the proper control test apply to the human driver in vehicles at different levels of automation?
- How should the proper control test apply to the automated driving system when it is engaged?
Submissions for this discussion paper - Clarifying control of automated vehicles - are open until 4pm Friday, 2 June 2017 via the NTC website.
Feedback from this consultation will inform the development of national enforcement guidelines which will be presented to transport ministers in November 2017.
Harnessing big data for transport planning
The massive amounts of Australian vehicle traffic data being collected via satellite could soon be used by the Australian, state and territory governments to plan for future investments in essential transport infrastructure.
Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, has released the terms of reference for the Data Collection and Dissemination Plan project, with a draft plan scheduled for release within six months.
“Technology is having a transformative effect on transport and infrastructure and the opportunities provided by data are immense ,” Mr Fletcher said.
“This project—which involves the Federal, state and territory governments, and representatives from the transport sector and academia—will examine how this wealth of big data information can be used to better inform the decision-making process.”
The Australian Government is committed to utilising this emerging technology to help address the future infrastructure needs of Australia's growing population.
“By providing information on freight routes, speeds and fleet composition, big data has the potential to improve the productive capacity of both current and future transport networks,” Mr Fletcher said.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) will lead the project, overseen by a Steering Group comprising industry, academia and government representatives.
The Terms of Reference for the development of the Data Collection and Dissemination Plan are available at: https://bitre.gov.au/data_dissemination.