THE Victorian Government last week said that procurement will begin on the North East Link project within the first 100 days of a re-elected Labor Government, with the 2018-19 State Budget to include $110 million to fast-track the completion of detailed planning and design.
The proposed $16.5 billion North East Link will connect Melbourne's freeway network between an upgraded Eastern Freeway from Springvale Road to the M80 Ring Road. The project includes a five-kilometre-long tunnel that will start at Bulleen Road and surface near Lower Plenty Road.
There will be a local connection at Lower Plenty Road, with the North East Link then running north alongside the existing Greensborough Highway before connecting to an expanded M80 Ring Road at Greensborough.
Travel times between Melbourne's north and south are expected to be reduced by up to 30 minutes in each direction, while it is estimated that more than 15,000 trucks and more than 9,000 vehicles will be removed from local roads such as Rosanna Road, Lower Plenty Road and Fitzsimons Lane.
Planning studies and community consultation are under way following the announcement of a project corridor last year, and the full reference design is due to be released later this year.