The Andrews Labor Government has unveiled four potential corridor options for the North East Link – a proposed tollway planned to run through Melbourne’s north eastern suburbs.
The North East Link is intended to ease traffic congestion by preventing ‘rat running’ – a practice where owner-drivers and other road users deviate from main roads in favour of suburban shortcuts, according to Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.
“For decades the North East Link has been put in the too hard basket – this is the missing link Melbourne desperately needs to slash congestion and stop the rat runs in the north east,” said Mr. Andrews.
The four possible North East Link corridors have been determined through extensive works spanning the entire north-east, including geo-technical investigations, traffic modelling, environment studies and discussions with community groups, businesses and local residents.
Each corridor has been assessed against a range of measures including key local concerns such as reducing congestion and getting trucks off residential roads, as well as the impact on urban areas and the environment.
Each of the options identified begin at the Ring Road in Greensborough and connect to either the Eastern Freeway or EastLink, and all will involve tunnels, new surface roads and bridges.
People who live and work in the area can provide feedback online or at community information sessions taking place across the north-east throughout August.
The Government is expected to determine the preferred corridor by the end of the year.
The Victorian Budget 2017/18 provided the first $100 million for the North East Link to undertake design, planning and preconstruction works, ahead of contracts being signed in 2019 and construction commencing in 2020.
Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, has said: “For too long, local roads in the north-east have become default freeways. North East Link will fix that – carrying 100,000 vehicles a day and creating 5,000 jobs.”
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the State Government’s recommitment to the North East Link.
“Yesterday’s news means Victoria is now one step closer to getting the North East Link built,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“This much-needed infrastructure project will ease congestion, improve safety and community amenity, boost economic productivity and will provide a safer, cleaner environment for those living in the North East of Melbourne.
“The VTA looks forward to continuing to contribute further to this vital project over the months to come.”