VTA joy at government North East Link pledge


Premier puts project into election territory but insists it will be done

VTA joy at government North East Link pledge
Daniel Andrews says it will be built.

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has gained a public promise from premier Daniel Andrews that one of its most sought-after projects, the North East Link, will be built.

While the state Coalition says it will await the details before backing it, Andrews is definite.

"This is it – the missing link that will connect our city – and we will get it done," he says.

"When we build the missing link that completes the ring road, you’ll be able to drive from Ringwood to Tullamarine without stopping at a single traffic light."

The VTA is a long-term advocate and lobbyist for the North East Link as a priority road infrastructure project .

VTA CEO Peter Anderson commended the move that would "connect the M80 Ring Road with Eastlink and important freight hubs in Melbourne’s south east".

"The announcement is terrific news for VTA members, who will benefit from the increased productivity and efficiencies the connection will create.

Transport operators for too long had been forced to use arterial roads in the north east to traverse between the M80 and the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink, and that the decision to proceed with North EastLink provided certainty that a long-term solution was in sight.

"We estimate over 40 per cent of heavy vehicle traffic will be removed from arterial roads in the north east when the North East Link is built, easing congestion and improving amenity for communities in the area," Anderson says.

"Having a seamless connection will be a huge benefit to operators, who will experience productivity and efficiency gains from not having to sit idle in traffic."

The local traffic point chimes with expectations of state roads minister Luke Donnellan.

"Joining the ring road is a no brainer to take thousands of cars and trucks off local streets and congested freeways – but governments have put it in the too-hard basket for decades," Donnellan says.

The announcement follows Infrastructure Victoria’s endorsement of the North East Link in its final 30-year infrastructure strategy which was tabled in the Parliament last week.

The project will begin with $35 million for business case development, consultation and route selection complete by 2018, and planning approval and tender processes starting that year.

The Labor Government will not sign contracts before the election – giving the Victorian community their say on this vital project without binding future governments.

The project feature a North East Link Authority, overseen by the Victorian Coordinator General, under the same model used to progress the Metro Tunnel, the Western Distributor, and level-crossings removals.

Anderson says the feasibility announced by the Government and its plans to the North East Link Authority were important first steps in getting the project up and running.

"We look forward to participating in and contributing to the feasibility study, which will inevitably consider the most appropriate and suitible routing for the connection," he adds.

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