Vic moves to ease post-COVID traffic woes

·1-min read

A dedicated congestion management team will soon be casting an eye over Melbourne's changing post-lockdown traffic conditions using new cameras and sensors.

From next month, six traffic managers at the Traffic Management Centre in Kew will be tasked with dealing with bottlenecks, incidents and breakdowns in three city hotspots.

Roads Minister Ben Carroll said traffic on Melbourne's arterial road network has shot up rapidly from pre-COVID levels as freeway volumes remain below normal.

"It's those connecting arterials where we see so much traffic coming through that we know we need to improve," he told reporters on Monday.

The latest data shows freeway traffic in Melbourne has only returned to 94 per cent of pre-COVID levels, while Hallam North Road in the city's southeast has exceeded its usual volume twice since March.

The new expert congestion managers will have access to more than 700 extra traffic cameras and data from sensors across the network, helping them make snap changes in real-time.

"Whether that's the speed signs on the freeways or the lane filtering and then the on-ramps signage," Victoria's Department of Transport operations head Nick Foa said.

Mr Foa said the moves would not just cut down travel time for drivers, with hopes commuters on buses and trams will also benefit.

"The whole system is geared to being optimised," he said.

"So trams prioritisation and bus prioritisation is one of the components of this $340 million investment."

The state government said the initiative has created about 100 new traffic management jobs, including 12 incident response officers in six vans.