North-East Link: Extended Eastern Freeway section will be toll-free, project to create 10,000 jobs

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Photo: Vic Govt.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE,24 November: Speaking on ABC radio today Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews disclosed that the option A of the proposed North East Link, Eastern Freeway -Greensborough route is confirmed. The 26-kilometre route will pass through Bulleen and Banyule and will need to acquire local residences and businesses.
The North East Link is expected to be the biggest transport project in Victoria’s history – finally building the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network.

The North East Link will begin on the Eastern Freeway at Springvale Road where the capacity of the Eastern will be doubled with six extra dedicated lanes to eliminate some of eastern Melbourne’s worst bottlenecks.

The expanded Eastern Freeway section will remain toll-free, says a media release from the Premier’s office.

Heading west, the mega-freeway will connect to a new six-lane tunnel at Bulleen with local underground connections at Banksia St and Manningham Road.The five-kilometer-long tunnel will then travel deep beneath the Yarra River, protecting environmentally sensitive parkland and residential areas.

There will be a local connection at Lower Plenty Road, with the North East Link then running north alongside the existing Greensborough Highway, which will stay open for local traffic.A new interchange will see North East Link travel beneath Grimshaw Street in Watsonia, before seamlessly connecting to the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough, which is also being widened.

Premier Daniel Andrews said, “People have been talking about connecting the Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway for decades but it’s always
been put in the too hard basket – not anymore”.

“This is the biggest transport project in Victoria’s history – our state needs it and only Labor will get it done, he said.

Travel times between Melbourne’s north and south will be cut by up to 30 minutes in each direction, with massive travel time savings for people travelling to Melbourne Airport from the south and east.Congestion on local roads in the north eastern suburbs will also be slashed, with up to 15,000 trucks taken off
local streets a day, and more than 9,000 vehicles taken off hotspots like Rosanna Road.

While the business case is yet to be finalised, early cost estimates of this massive project range up to $16.5 billion – the single biggest transport infrastructure investment in Victorian history. The project is expected to create around 10,000 Victorian jobs.

Detailed design will now get underway and the business case, including finalising cost estimates, will be publicly released ahead of the Victorian Budget 2018/19.
Procurement and planning approval processes will also begin in 2018, ahead of a preferred builder being selected in 2019, and major construction starting in 2020.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said,“The North East Link will take 15,000 trucks off local roads, create thousands of jobs and deliver massive travel
time savings for drivers.”

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