Melbourne’s $10b ‘missing link’ confirmed

The Victorian Government will push ahead with the construction of the proposed North East Link, said to complete Melbourne’s Metropolitan Ring Road.

Dubbed the ‘missing link’, the $10 billion project aims to slash travel time on congested roads in Melbourne’s north, south, and east. It will take thousands of trucks off local streets in the north-eastern suburbs, and connect the southern and eastern suburbs to Tullamarine Airport.

“This is it – the missing link that will connect our city – and we will get it done,” said Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews. “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.”

According to the State Government, the project will be spearheaded by a new expert North East Link Authority, overseen by the Victorian Coordinator General and under the same model used to progress the Metro Tunnel, the Western Distributor, and the removal of Melbourne’s 50 worst level crossings.

“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,” added Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan.

“The Andrews Labor Government will build the North East Link – the only project that can actually slash congestion in Melbourne’s north, south, and east, while the Western Distributor fixes traffic in the west.”

CEO of Victorian Transport Association (VTA), Peter Anderson, welcomed the announcement. “The Andrews Government is to be commended for taking on this vital infrastructure project for Victoria, which will finally connect the M80 Ring Road with the EastLink and the vital freight hubs in Melbourne’s south east,” he said.

“We estimate over 40 per cent of heavy vehicle traffic will be removed from arterial roads in the north east when the road is finally built, easing congestion and improving amenity for communities in the North East. We look forward to participating in and contributing to the feasibility study, which will inevitably consider the most appropriate and suitable routing for the connection.”

The project is expected to take around 10 years to complete, create more than 5,000 direct jobs, and cost up to $10 billion, funded by a mixture of government contributions and tolls, with final funding arrangements determined as part of the detailed planning process.

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