Full Steam Ahead For Second Murray River Crossing At Echuca-Moama

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 07 Oct 2019 16:31
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
A lot of money to spend on a bridge for 1500 heavy vehicles per day.  There is a rail line disused to 3 major terminals for grain on the line to Balranald.  Why could the government not also re-open this line to allow for trains to clear over 700,000 tonnes of grain per annum in these terminals?

“The new bridge will give drivers an alternative to the existing bridge, which transports around 25,000 vehicles each day – including 1,500 trucks and heavy vehicles, helping to reduce congestion and improve industry productivity,” Ms Allan said.
Somebody



Full Steam Ahead For Second Murray River Crossing At Echuca-Moama

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  n459L1150 Train Controller

Location: at sunbury on a V/line service into melbourne, waiting for thousands of impatient people to get on
because Echuca is in a strongly held Nationals seat and we are too far away from Melbourne for the state government to give a flying rodents backside about us. I mean it took them forever to get started building the bridge and we needed it decades ago
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Frankly it's almost criminal for a very narrow two-lane bridge built in 1878 to reach a point where it is carrying 25,000-vehicles per day without amplification or replacement. There are sections of the Western Highway being duplicated west of Ballarat that only carry 6,000-vehicles per day. I would see the need for a second bridge across the Murray in the Echuca region as urgent rather than a boondoggle, rail underutilisation or not.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

I have had family and friends in Echuca for the last thirty plus years and all the Guvs have dilly and dallied to the local tribe dozens of times or a rare butterfly or frog has been mentioned to live in the area, should have been built in the early 80s.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
This tweet provides some insight into what is really going on in the area and how rail is failing.



Why would https://kagome.com.au not be able to use rail if they wanted?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Kagome would be reliant on the Govt building a new siding. Even if they helped fund it, it would take years to make anything happen!

And then the Port of Melbourne and others would need to be onboard as well.  Good luck with that.

How many containers a day?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Postscript - they process 250000 tonnes per annum. That's plenty to load two or three container trains a week. Although a big percentage is for local consumption.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
There lies the problem really.

$180m would have built a nice terminal in Echuca for freight and the new bridge will be on the wrong side of the town.

What is the address of the processing site ?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

It's next to the Toolamba line. Just run a siding parallel to Denmark Rd.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
because Echuca is in a strongly held Nationals seat and we are too far away from Melbourne for the state government to give a flying rodents backside about us. I mean it took them forever to get started building the bridge and we needed it decades ago
n459L1150

I don't recall this project advancing to construction when we had the 4 lost years of the Baillieu/Napthine government. Just saying... Smile

Mike.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Frankly it's almost criminal for a very narrow two-lane bridge built in 1878 to reach a point where it is carrying 25,000-vehicles per day without amplification or replacement. There are sections of the Western Highway being duplicated west of Ballarat that only carry 6,000-vehicles per day. I would see the need for a second bridge across the Murray in the Echuca region as urgent rather than a boondoggle, rail underutilisation or not.
Sulla1

No. I reckon the economics and the traffic considerations are nonsense.

Almost all of the traffic over the existing bridge is local to Echuca/Moama; it's not through traffic.

From a daily perspective, the traffic only gets bad in the morning and evening peaks as people come and go from jobs/shopping in Echuca. I can understand that it would get irritating from a country perspective, but it's a minor blip compared with driving anywhere in Melbourne, or even a rural city. How minor the traffic levels are can be judged by the fact that the major intersection at the south end of the bridge is still a roundabout - no traffic lights.

Traffic levels would only reach 25,000 vehicles a day in peak summer holiday season when the resorts around Moama are going gangbusters. And, of course, almost all of these vehicles would be cars, well within the capacity of the bridge.

To be honest, it's not clear to me how much traffic the new bridge would capture. The new bridge is west of the Campaspe River, most of the traffic sources/sinks are east of the river in Echuca proper, and there are only two bridges across the Campaspe: Warren St and the Murray Valley Hwy. Any traffic down Warren St has to go along High St - there is no alternative. High St is the main tourist drag. Not only is this a high pedestrian area, but, it's a 50 km/h two lane road, and during the day the traffic in this section is already bumper to bumper. It has no capacity to absorb any more traffic. The Murray Valley Hwy has plenty of capacity, but is well south of the centre of Echuca and would be a detour for most traffic.

(I would note that when I last stayed in Echuca at the beginning of the year, Warren St was being rebuilt - it's clear that VicRoads/the local council expects traffic to increase on this route.)

The new bridge would get the trucks out of the centre of Echuca and Moama, and save them 15 or 20 minutes, but whether it is worth spending the money just for that is another matter. You could get them out of the centre of Echuca by upgrading the road to the east of the railway station down to the Murray Valley Hwy for a fraction of the cost of a new bridge.

(Added...)

I forget to comment on the politics. While this was a Victorian announcement, remember that NSW would be kicking in the same amount as Victoria, and the Feds would also be contributing. NSW and the Commonwealth governments are both conservative, matching the political complexion of the electorates. Most of the benefit of the bridge would be to NSW residents - particularly Deni - so I could understand the interest of that government.

It's also a good example of the persistence of infrastructure proposals. A second bridge has been on the wish list of the area for a long time. They don't have to pay for it, so it's a continual local demand.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The two single biggest projects which should immediately be undertaken around Echuca have been mentioned on this thread.  Siding for the manufacturing plant (food) in Echuca, and grain access on the Moulmein Line where a substantial amount of grain is stored.

The siding would be trivial in cost and be a boon for SSR or Qube (SSR would work out of Bendigo Yard) or Qube out of Melbourne.  The issue we have in Victoria is a complete lack of planning for rail freight and this has been the case for years.

What is the V/Line Freight GM who has been hired in the Department?  What are they doing?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

The two single biggest projects which should immediately be undertaken around Echuca have been mentioned on this thread.  Siding for the manufacturing plant (food) in Echuca, and grain access on the Moulmein Line where a substantial amount of grain is stored.

The siding would be trivial in cost and be a boon for SSR or Qube (SSR would work out of Bendigo Yard) or Qube out of Melbourne.  The issue we have in Victoria is a complete lack of planning for rail freight and this has been the case for years.

What is the V/Line Freight GM who has been hired in the Department?  What are they doing?
bevans
Freight Victoria's CEO is Garry Button.  Former Deputy CEO of VicTrack.
https://au.linkedin.com/in/garry-button-3a14a028
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

To be honest, it's not clear to me how much traffic the new bridge would capture. The new bridge is west of the Campaspe River, most of the traffic sources/sinks are east of the river in Echuca proper, and there are only two bridges across the Campaspe: Warren St and the Murray Valley Hwy. Any traffic down Warren St has to go along High St - there is no alternative. High St is the main tourist drag. Not only is this a high pedestrian area, but, it's a 50 km/h two lane road, and during the day the traffic in this section is already bumper to bumper. It has no capacity to absorb any more traffic. The Murray Valley Hwy has plenty of capacity, but is well south of the centre of Echuca and would be a detour for most traffic.
historian

I was in Echuca a week or two ago - to my mind the new bridge is designed not for local traffic, but for through traffic, which will be routed from Melbourne straight across the Murray Valley Highway roundabout, then right at the Warren Street roundabout, and left at a new roundabout before the Campaspe River bridge. The road will then swing across the river and make effectively an end-on connection to the Cobb Highway in Moama. From Echuca's perspective that does get the trucks out of the town - currently running along High Street, right onto Heygath Street and left onto the bridge puts them on the edge of the most popular tourist area, between the port and the main business district.
Like you, I think that upgrading a north-south street east of the railway would have done the job just as well in terms of getting traffic away from the historic part of town, but I wonder how the old bridge is handling the ever-increasing weight of the trucks.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The two single biggest projects which should immediately be undertaken around Echuca have been mentioned on this thread.  Siding for the manufacturing plant (food) in Echuca, and grain access on the Moulmein Line where a substantial amount of grain is stored.

The siding would be trivial in cost and be a boon for SSR or Qube (SSR would work out of Bendigo Yard) or Qube out of Melbourne.  The issue we have in Victoria is a complete lack of planning for rail freight and this has been the case for years.

What is the V/Line Freight GM who has been hired in the Department?  What are they doing?
Freight Victoria's CEO is Garry Button.  Former Deputy CEO of VicTrack.
https://au.linkedin.com/in/garry-button-3a14a028
Carnot

Thanks for the info.  My point is what is this guy doing?  He should be working with the Logistics Council and the shires on a integrated transport strategy.  Sounds like it is not working at all.

I might see if I can get a meeting with him.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Thanks for the info.  My point is what is this guy doing?  He should be working with the Logistics Council and the shires on a integrated transport strategy.  Sounds like it is not working at all.

I might see if I can get a meeting with him.
bevans
bevans while your drumming up some more business would a call to the Moulamein grain mob ( is it Emerald, can't remember ) and if they would cough up any info, see if they would give some idea of the destination of the grain, they have had some quite large quantities there, over the years.

BigShunter.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

To be honest, it's not clear to me how much traffic the new bridge would capture. The new bridge is west of the Campaspe River, most of the traffic sources/sinks are east of the river in Echuca proper, and there are only two bridges across the Campaspe: Warren St and the Murray Valley Hwy. Any traffic down Warren St has to go along High St - there is no alternative. High St is the main tourist drag. Not only is this a high pedestrian area, but, it's a 50 km/h two lane road, and during the day the traffic in this section is already bumper to bumper. It has no capacity to absorb any more traffic. The Murray Valley Hwy has plenty of capacity, but is well south of the centre of Echuca and would be a detour for most traffic.

I was in Echuca a week or two ago - to my mind the new bridge is designed not for local traffic, but for through traffic, which will be routed from Melbourne straight across the Murray Valley Highway roundabout, then right at the Warren Street roundabout, and left at a new roundabout before the Campaspe River bridge. The road will then swing across the river and make effectively an end-on connection to the Cobb Highway in Moama. From Echuca's perspective that does get the trucks out of the town - currently running along High Street, right onto Heygath Street and left onto the bridge puts them on the edge of the most popular tourist area, between the port and the main business district.
Like you, I think that upgrading a north-south street east of the railway would have done the job just as well in terms of getting traffic away from the historic part of town, but I wonder how the old bridge is handling the ever-increasing weight of the trucks.
duttonbay

I'm sorry, I didn't express myself well.

Yes, I agree that the new bridge is designed for through traffic.

But the justification for the new bridge is the congestion over the old bridge. But most of the movements are local movements for which the new bridge is unlikely to have much benefit (because of the limitations of the road network, particularly through the port area). So the investment in the new bridge is unlikely to bring the benefits for which it was purportedly built.

There are two possibilities.

First, this is a bait and switch. The intended benefit is for through traffic, but there is not enough of it to justify building the new bridge, nor is it important enough to the locals to warrant destruction of the reserve. So the business case is built around reducing congestion on the old bridge. That this benefit won't occur is irrelevant - it will only become apparent when the bridge is built, at which point it is too late. The money has been spent.

Second, this is a salami. The new bridge *will* attract enough local movements to cause chaos through the historic port area. This will produce pressure to construct a new road from the new roundabout on Warren St south and east to cross the Campaspe and connect to Heygarth St, south of the tourist area. This would provide a genuine alternative to the existing bridge. (Even better if both effects occur: the new bridge attracts enough local trips to cause chaos through the historic port, but not enough to significantly affect the congestion on the old bridge.)

Max Lay, who was a senior road engineer at the old CRB, was quite clear in his history of that organisation that the CRB consciously used this salami trick to build freeways - most notably what is now the Monash Freeway. The CRB would get funding to build a section of road, knowing that this would increase congestion at the ends. This congestion, in turn, would provide the justification and political pressure - eventually - for the next stage. Rinse and repeat.

This is a trick that the Victorian railway engineers have not seemed to master. The old CRB would have, for example, built the airport link even though it would have caused congestion on the section inwards from Sunshine. They would have viewed the congestion as providing arguments for further investment.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

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