Proponent: Western Distributor Authority

The West Gate Tunnel Project comprises the following elements:

  • upgrade and widening of the existing West Gate Freeway by two lanes in each direction between Williamstown Road and M80 interchange generally to provide overall capacity of six through lanes each way and auxiliary lanes as required, widening of the Princes Freeway between the M80 and Kororoit Creek Road, collector-distributor carriageways, elevated ramps, structures and surface road connections including new ramp connections to and from Hyde Street;
  • two bored tunnels catering for three traffic lanes in each direction under Yarraville which include a road tunnel ventilation system, tunnel portals and ventilation structures
  • bridges across the Maribyrnong River connecting the tunnels with twin viaducts above Footscray Road and connections to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink, Dynon Road and extension of Wurundjeri Way to Dynon Road and widening to Flinders Street
  • improvements, extensions and upgrades to the existing pedestrian and bicycle network, as well as the creation of new public open space areas and relocation of services.


Public Works

Declared 'public works' under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

'Public works' are defined as being works undertaken, or proposed to be undertaken, by or on behalf of the Crown or for public statutory bodies, but does not include works undertaken by or on behalf of municipal councils.

Project Outline and Order under Section 3(1)

The Western Distributor Authority announced the selected design for the West Gate Tunnel Project (formerly known as the Western Distributor Project) in early April 2017. On 14 May 2017, a revised order was approved by the Minister for Planning that more accurately reflects the project design.

In making his Order, the Minister specified procedures and requirements that are to apply to the Environment Effects Statement (EES).

On 10 December 2015, DEDJTR provided the Minister for Planning with a project outline, and requested that the Minister declare the project described in the Project Outline to be 'public works' for the purposes of section 3(1) of the Environment Effects Act.

On 23 December 2015, the Minister for Planning declared the works proposed for the West Gate Tunnel Project in order to require an EES, which includes community consultation and an independent panel review to inform the Minister's Assessment and decision-making.

Reason for Order

In accordance with normal EES practice, a statement of the Minister's Reasons for Order has been prepared.

EES Communications and Engagement Plan

This Communications and Engagement Strategy prepared by DEDJTR outlines the engagement planned to take place during preparation of the West Gate Tunnel EES.

Scoping requirements

The Minister for Planning released the Scoping Requirements for the EES to be prepared by DEDJTR for the West Gate Tunnel Project. The Scoping Requirements set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. The draft Scoping Requirements were available for public comment from 22 February to 15 March 2016 and the submissions received were used to inform the final Scoping Requirements.


The EES for the West Gate Tunnel Project, including an EPA Works Approval application and draft Planning Scheme Amendment, was available for public comment for a period of 30 business days, from 29 May to 10 July 2017.

Details on public exhibition were provided in the EES exhibition public notice (PDF, 128.6 KB).

A public information session with the West Gate Tunnel Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee was held on Friday 16 June 2017.


A joint Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) was appointed on 18 May 2017 to consider the EES, EPA Works Approval application and draft Planning Scheme Amendment, and enquire into the environmental effects of the proposal.

A Directions Hearing was held on Wednesday 19 July 2017. The IAC commenced public hearings on 14 August 2017 and these ran for just over 5 weeks. The IAC will then prepare a report to the Minister for Planning.

Minister for Planning’s Assessment

The Minister for Planning will consider the IAC’s report and prepare and release his Assessment under the Environment Effects Act. The Assessment will be provided to statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on this project, including for the EPA Works Approval and planning scheme amendments.

More information

  • EPA works approval application process
    1300 372 842