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Victoria awards contracts for Eastern Freeway and M80 Ring Road upgrades

The Victorian government says the upgrades to both the freeway and the Ring Road will take roughly 15,000 trucks per day off local roads

The Victorian government has announced that the first contracts to deliver the Eastern Freeway and M80 Ring Road upgrades have been awarded.  

Nexus, comprising Laing O’Rourke Construction, Symal Infrastructure, WSP Australia and Arcadis Australia, has been appointed to deliver the first part of the $5.7 billion overhaul of the Eastern Freeway from Burke to Tram Road. 

AMA, comprising Acciona Construction, AECOM Australia and MACA Civil, will deliver the $3.8 billion upgrade to the M80 Ring Road. 

Victorian premier Jacinta Allan and transport infrastructure minister Danny Pearson were on hand for the announcement, with the upgrades set to form a vital part of Victoria’s North East Link project. 

The Victorian government says the link will take 15,000 trucks a day off local roads, save 35 minutes in travel time from the east to the outer north and create 12,000 jobs. 

Following six years of detailed design and planning work, significant additional scope has been added to the link in response to community feedback. 

This includes a longer tunnel, a major upgrade of the ring road, better interchanges and more open space, which the Victorian governments says will create thousands more jobs. 

“This project has been talked about for 60 years,” Allan says.  

“We’re getting on and building the much-needed missing link because families in our growing state need it and jobs depend on it.” 

The Eastern Freeway upgrade includes more than 45 kilometres of new lanes and new traffic management systems along the freeway to deliver 11-minute travel time savings between Springvale Road and Hoddle Street.  

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In Melbourne’s northern suburbs, a major upgrade will add 15 kilometres of lanes on the M80 Ring Road from Plenty Road to the link, a more efficient interchange at Grimshaw Street and new walking and cycling links. 

“The cost of not building this project is too great, we simply can’t do without it, and we’re investing more because we have expanded the project and we’re delivering it in a different economic environment,” Pearson says. 

The Victorian government says the costings of the projects reflect the spike in inflation and the massive escalation in construction costs that’s being seen across Australia and the world. 

The Ring Road and freeway overhauls are expected to cause significant disruption over the coming years as both are tied with the new North East Link tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen. 

The Victorian government says it expects all three projects to be completed by 2028 and are jointly funded by both itself and the federal government.

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