KICK-STARTING By the late 1980s, with the Southbank strategy in place, the opportunity of developing the Docklands rose high on the state government agenda. This was, however, a much more difficult redevelopment than Southbank. The city was severely cut off from the water: first, by the Spencer Street railway station and goods yards; second, by the major arterial by-pass of Footscray Road (Figure 7.2). Spencer Street Station had long been the major interstate railways node and goods station, and also a key part of the city loop commuter network forming a major blockage at the edge of the grid. The other major blockage was Footscray Road, a major north-south artery that carried 48 000 vehicles per day. This was projected to increase to 81 000 by 2001 and a third of it was heavy haulage. Footscray Road was the only western by-pass around the city centre and there had long been plans to replace it with either a bridge or a tunnel; however, there was no funding available. Finally, one of the city's major container ports, Webb Dock, was connected with a single rail line along the waterfront, which needed to be relocated. Only one of the city grid streets (Flinders Street) continued into the docks and there was no public transport. Some of the land was contaminated by a former gasworks and much of the former swamp had poor soil conditions requiring piles for buildings over two storeys. Much of the wharf infrastructure was in such poor condition that the required investment exceeded the raw valuation of the site, leading some property consultants to suggest that the site had 'negative value'.