Brooklyn residents offered $20 pizza vouchers, window cleaning after West Gate Tunnel works

Residents who say West Gate Tunnel works have badly damaged their Brooklyn homes have been offered free window cleaning and a $20 pizza voucher as compensation.

Ian Royall

Yusuf Balla says the cracks worsened after a two-month, 24-hour construction blitz. Picture: Mark Stewart

Residents who say West Gate Tunnel works have badly damaged their Brooklyn homes have been offered free window cleaning and a $20 pizza voucher as compensation.

The frames of the houses near the Millers Rd exit ramp have dropped by as much as 110mm because of vibration and heavy machinery operating nearby, the householders say.

Piling to sink posts for the noise screens, as well as constant traffic had moved the subsoil, even cracking the road.

The site was used as a depot for machinery, trucks and other equipment.

“We’ve had diggers, bobcats, cranes, everything,’’ one resident told the Saturday Herald Sun.

Residents say the $20 pizza voucher offer is an insult. Picture: Mark Stewart

Homeowner Yusuf Balla says his home of 55 years started cracking when the tunnel and freeway works began four years ago.

But larger gaps opened up after a two-month, 24-hour construction blitz last spring for the over-budget and behind-schedule project to build a tunnel and widen the freeway.

Now internal sliding doors are so warped that opening them is an effort and his driveway concrete has split.

“It’s so frustrating. My message is: ‘Dan, fix my house,’’ he said in a call to the premier.

“The superstructure works have damaged my house and they are not taking responsibility for it.’’

In a neighbour’s home, similar problems have appeared and worsened. Growing cracks, doors don’t close, while gaps have opened up under architraves and cornices have come adrift.

Mr Balla now struggles to close his sliding doors at his home opposite the West Gate Tunnel worksite. Picture: Mark Stewart

“Just acknowledge there’s a problem and fix it,’’ she said.

“The west needs this (freeway) but why do we have to be collateral damage?’’

“We have been told the soil is ‘reactive’ but if that’s the case why are they building these big structures, never mind an underground tunnel?’’ the neighbour said.

Cornice has come away from the walls because of structural issues caused by the works, residents say.

The residents said offers from the project of window cleaning, gutter clearing and a $20 pizza voucher were not the answer to their issues and was simply an insult.

Trucks lined up on the Brooklyn street.

The street usually has a six-tonne load limit.

The project’s insurers have had building inspectors and surveyors review their cases but the residents are still without answers.

Hundreds of trucks and other heavy vehicles including cranes used the narrow street, despite a six-tonne load limit.

A West Gate Tunnel Project spokesperson said pre-construction condition surveys were offered to properties in the street before the start of project works.

“There is an independent mediation process in place to assess claims of property damage.

“Any damage found to be caused by project works are subject to independent assessment and are the responsibility of the project builder and their insurer.”

Project representatives also met residents last week to discuss their concerns.