North East Link changes gain VTA endorsement

Connection between the M80 and Eastern freeways hailed


The Victorian government has awarded the Spark consortium an $11.1 billion public private partnership (PPP) to build, operate and maintain North East Link (NEL) for 25 years, including revisions supported by the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).

The VTA said it had endorsed changes that will see tunnels lengthened a further 1.9km in making the “long overdue” connection between the M80 and Eastern freeways, completing the missing link in Melbourne’s inner ring road.

The North East Link project that the VTA consistently backed will connect the M80 Ring Road to an upgraded Eastern Freeway.

It aims to provide an efficient connection for up to 135,000 vehicles each day, reducing travel times by up to 35 minutes, skipping 18 traffic lights on a trip to the airport, with tolls to go back to the state.

Most importantly for freight operators, the North East Link will provide a seamless and uninterrupted connection from freight routes in the north of Melbourne through to industrial precincts in the city’s south east, reducing truck traffic on Rosanna Road and taking pressure off the West Gate Bridge and CityLink, the industry body notes.

“The VTA advocated forcefully for North East Link so freight and passenger vehicles have a more productive and efficient connection between the M80 and Eastlink and the Eastern Freeway,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson said.

“We have been closely involved in consultations with the Victorian government and local communities during the planning phase for the road’s construction since the government confirmed North East Link would be built some years ago.

“Lengthening the tunnels will add to the already significant amenity improvements the project will deliver communities in Melbourne’s north east by putting road traffic underground, reducing congestion on the existing above ground road network and creating space for new parks and recreational areas.”

Read about how te NEL route was decided, here

Anderson said the VTA would continue to work with planners to ensure heavy vehicles that are unable to use the tunnels are provided with safe and efficient alternative connections.

“During this early phase of planning it’s critical that the road and traffic engineers get alternative over dimensional routes right for dangerous goods and livestock vehicles that cannot use the tunnels,” he added.

“This includes exit and entrance ramps that can safely carry oversize loads and dangerous goods vehicles, and upgrades to Rosanna Road and other gazetted freight routes that will be needed to carry certain types of freight.

“We commend the government for listening to the industry and the community and enshrining important design changes that will make North East Link an even better piece of transport infrastructure.”


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