North East Link to gain $100 million boost

Project supporter VTA reiterates anti-tunnels position

North East Link to gain $100 million boost
The missing link


The North East Link’s $100 million funding allocation, flagged for this year’s state Budget, has garnered a warm Victorian Transport Association (VTA) response and a repeated plea that tunnels are ruled out on the project.

The cash is to be aimed at completing design, planning, and preconstruction works before contracts are signed.

"Local residents, motorists, the freight industry and businesses will see extensive community consultation with sessions scheduled across the project area from mid-year," the state government says.

"Detailed design and engagement will take place throughout the year, with procurement starting next year, contracts signed in 2019, and construction beginning soon after."

The North East Link will connect the Metropolitan Ring Road (M80) at Greensborough, with either the Eastern Freeway or Eastlink.

The VTA, which has long backed the project, is keen on the avoidance of tunnels that would block the use of certain trucks while raising the project’s cost.

"It is encouraging to see some serious funding being allocated to this vital infrastructure project, following the welcome commitment from the Victorian Government in December to build the North East Link, and its subsequent establishment of the North East Link Authority [NELA]," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"The VTA has already met with NELA CEO Duncan Elliott and the project team to discuss our preferred routing of the connection, and the importance of considering options that do not include tunnels, which are expensive to build and cannot accommodate dangerous goods vehicles.

"With or without a tunnel, Melbourne and the freight industry desperately need the North East Link, however we were encouraged that the Authority is considering a range of routing options, and that they understand the restrictions tunnels present for placarded dangerous goods vehicles.

"We look forward to being actively involved in the consultation process over the coming months, which will culminate with the construction of the state’s most important infrastructure project."

Other detailed planning and engineering work will include field investigations, equipment procurement, service investigations, site establishment and upgrades to existing infrastructure, the state government says.

"These expert engineering, environmental and social investigations will help determine the best design for the project, with a focus on protecting existing urban areas and minimising the impact to the environment," it adds.


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