Two tunnels ‘one carrying road traffic, the other a freight railway” have been proposed as part of an ambitious US$7.55bn infrastructure project in Melbourne, Australia.

The tunnels are part of an East-West integrated transport proposal prepared by engineering consultant Sinclair Knight Merz for Melbourne city council.

The road tunnel would run from the Eastern freeway at Hoddle Street under Melbourne’s inner northern and western suburbs to join the Western ring road at Deer Park.

The inner-west rail freight tunnel would replace the Bunbury Street tunnel, allowing movement of more cargo from Melbourne’s docks.

The overall plan, which includes a new passenger railway, was produced for the city council to allow officials to put their transport ideas to the Victoria state government which would eventually fund any transport scheme proposed by the council.

No timeframe for the implementation of the scheme has been indicated but there are already calls that the cash spent on the tunnelling programme would be better spend improving public transport.