Major Property Investors call for urgent road infrastructure in Melbourne's north to prevent serious impact on the economic viability of the area
A GROUP of significant investors in Melbourne's growing northern corridor are calling for an investment of $115 million to build access ramps on the Hume Freeway at O'Herns Road in Epping North and extend Edgars Road beyond Cooper Street to pave the way for economic growth.
The business investors, who include MAB Corporation, the McMullin Group, Pacific Epping, Gibson Property Group and Stockland are responsible for providing economic growth in terms of new developments, business investment and job creation in the area.
Together they have written to the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition requesting a meeting to highlight the critical nature of traffic congestion in the growing employment precinct around Cooper Street in Epping.
The Development Director of the McMullin Group, John Purdey, said the City of Whittlesea would experience a 46% increase in population by 2031 and traffic forecasting indicated roads would be saturated by 2016.
"The rapidly expanding area of Epping North is due to grow by 200 per cent despite having just one entry and exit route out of the area," Mr Purdey said. "Commuters are currently forced to travel down Miller Street, which leads directly onto Cooper Street – both of which are gridlocked every morning and night.
"This will be exacerbated when the Melbourne Wholesale Markets open in 2015, which will add approximately 8,800 vehicles a day onto Cooper Street. This will cripple traffic flow and has the potential to seriously impact on the economic viability of the area."
Mr Purdey said developers were already experiencing hesitation by businesses to invest in the area because of infrastructure related concerns.
"In a challenging economy with increasing unemployment rates it is critical that industry and government work together to grow the economic outcomes of the state and the local communities," he said.
Mr Purdey said the group was urging the government to invest $115 million to construct the following;
"Epping has been identified as a Metropolitan Activity Centre under the State Government's recently released Plan Melbourne. As an area identified for growth, employment and investment it is critical that both parties listen to our concerns for this vision to be realised," Mr Purdey said.
"Transport improvements in Epping are critical to employment, investment and economic development of Epping Central and the Cooper Street employment area business parks.
"Critical infrastructure such as O'Herns Road must be delivered to maximise investment opportunities. An investment in building this infrastructure will see returns of $348 million in the State's economic output during the construction phase and an additional $91 million per annum thereafter."
Mr Purdey said construction of the interchange would allow for freight movements and emergency vehicles for the Northern Hospital to use the Cooper Street interchange and private commuter traffic to use the O'Herns Road interchange, realising improvements to the efficiency and safety to the entire Epping Road network.
"Cooper Street will be home to the Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Markets, the Northern Hospital, Epping Plaza and new commercial developments. We need to separate residential traffic from commercial and freight traffic and importantly traffic for the Northern Hospital," he said.