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A $180 million rail yard being built in Melbourne's west to make way for the West Gate Tunnel could now become a dumping ground for the road's toxic soil, just as it was set to open.
The site in Wyndham Vale, in the seat of Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, is just 70 metres from houses and abuts the sites of planned housing developments and four schools.
Mr Pallas, the member for Werribee who signed off on the Transurban toll road, faces a bruising fight with his constituents, who have vowed to go to war over the proposal.
They say the Werribee area continually bears the brunt of the government's unpopular decisions because it is a safe Labor seat.
Three years ago a major local revolt forced Labor to stop plans to build a youth detention facility in Werribee.
The Andrews government is urgently trying to find a place to dump the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel's soil laced with potential carcinogens PFAS and asbestos, amid a dramatic impasse with Transurban and the road's builders over how to manage the waste.
Builders John Holland and CPB Contractors are threatening to leave the project due to the deadlock, with tunnelling estimated to be about a year behind schedule.
Government officials met with Wyndham Council staff on Tuesday morning and revealed a proposal to use the 82-hectare government-owned site to temporarily dump some of the project's PFAS soil.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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