FOLLOWING the inclusion of the project within Infrastructure Victoria's 30-year Infrastructure Strategy last year, the Victorian Government has released four potential corridor options for the proposed North East Link that will connect the M80 Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway or EastLink.
According to the government, the four possible corridors have been determined through extensive works spanning the entire north-east, including geotechnical investigations, traffic modelling, environmental studies and discussions with community groups, businesses and 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. 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 design, planning and pre-construction works, ahead of contracts being signed in 2019 and construction commencing in 2020.
The four options are:
Corridor A - This 11-kilometre corridor would follow the Greensborough Highway south using existing freeway reserve and connect with the Eastern Freeway near Bulleen Road. Extensive tunnelling would be used to protect sensitive environmental and heritage areas.
Corridor B - This 24-kilometre corridor would provide a direct connection from the M80 to EastLink. It would not require upgrades to the Eastern Freeway. Extensive tunnelling would be used to protect sensitive environmental and heritage areas.
Corridor C - Similar to Corridor B, this 26-kilometre corridor would connect to EastLink and not require any upgrades to the Eastern Freeway. Extensive tunnelling would be used to protect sensitive environmental and heritage areas.
Corridor D - This 40-km corridor would connect with EastLink south of Ringwood and travel east using part of the proposed Healesville Freeway Reserve. It was initially considered that this corridor would be suitable for a road with no tunnel to cater for trucks. Preliminary investigations have found that tunnels and bridges would be required to minimise impacts on sensitive areas and avoid steep inclines.