What is the North East Link?

North East Link will finally complete the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network by connecting an upgraded Eastern Freeway from Springvale Road to the M80 Ring Road.

Where will it go?

North East Link will begin at Springvale Road in Donvale with a massive expansion of the Eastern Freeway. A new interchange at Bulleen Road will connect into a five kilometre long six-lane tunnel that will travel under Bulleen Road as well as residential and sensitive environmental areas before emerging north of Lower Plenty Road, and continuing north using the Greensborough Highway road reserve to connect to the M80. More information is on the Project page of this site.

When will it be built?

We expect the project to take around ten years to complete, but it's too early to determine the exact timing. Our current work is part of a detailed business case which we will continue to develop during 2017 and early 2018. Planning approvals are expected to start in 2018. A preferred builder will be selected in 2019.

How much will it cost? Has the Eastern Freeway upgrade been included?

Preliminary estimates for North East Link expect the project cost between $14 - $16 billion, but this will be confirmed during the development of a business case.

The full cost of upgrades to the Eastern Freeway will be included in the project costs. All additional costs associated with making sure the North East Link fully integrates with the existing road network, including upgrades as well as connections to the M80, will also be included.

Will North East Link be tolled?

Yes. North East Link will be funded by a combination of government contributions and tolls. The new North East Link will be tolled but there will be no new tolls on existing routes. This includes no new tolls to use the Eastern Freeway, Greensborough Highway/Bypass and the M80 Ring Road.

Our work to design North East Link will look at ways to keep local roads available for local trips.

Will there be a chance for communities to have their say?

Yes. Community input is playing an important role in shaping North East Link. Conversations with communities in 2017 helped us to determine what North East Link needs to achieve and to investigate how different options might perform. We’ll continue talking to communities throughout 2018 as we design the project and work on formal planning and approvals. You can read more about how we’re involving communities in North East Link and what we’ve heard from you so far on the Community page of this site.

How was the project location identified?

We started in early 2017 by looking at all possible connections between the M80 Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway or EastLink. We developed the four most viable options further and assessed how they might perform against key measures. These included areas like reducing congestion, cutting travel times, getting trucks off residential roads and minimising impacts on the environment and communities. We also asked communities if we’d identified the right outcomes North East Link needs to achieve, if our studies were looking at what matters to them and if we had missed anything important.

From there, we completed more technical studies to keep investigating how the corridors might perform. The project corridor is the option that best met all of our assessment criteria.

What other corridors were considered?

We investigated four corridor options for North East Link. Option A was a connection between the M80 Ring Road in Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway near Bulleen Road. This option was identified as the project corridor that would deliver the best outcomes for local communities and Victoria.

Option B, Option C and Option D were connections between the M80 Ring Road in Greensborough and EastLink in Ringwood. Information about these corridor options is available here.

Will there be acquisitions?

One of our guiding principles for North East Link is to minimise impacts on communities, including homes.

As we design the project we’ll be looking at ways to minimise acquisition. This means it’s too early to say exactly how many properties might be affected until more design work is complete.

We’ve attempted to contact all residents and businesses with properties that could potentially be affected and will stay in touch with them as the project progresses. To protect their privacy, we won’t be releasing maps showing their homes or businesses.

If you think your property may be affected, please call us on 1800 941 191 so we can understand your concerns and stay in touch as the project progresses.

Learn more by reading our common questions about property acquisition fact sheet.

I received a letter saying my property may be required or impacted by North East Link. What does this mean?

NELA has identified some properties which may be required to construct North East Link. We've attempted to contact these residents and businesses in order to notify them of potential impacts. It is important to understand that this is not a formal acquisition letter. The formal acquisition process won't begin until planning approval has been granted, which may be mid to late 2019.

I haven't been contacted or sent a letter about North East Link. What does this mean?

If you believe a property you own or occupy might be affected by North East Link please contact us with your details so that we can keep you informed throughout the design and planning phases. If your property is near the North East Link corridor you should have received a newsletter. Please visit the NELA website for copy of all the latest news and publications about North East Link.

Why aren't you building an orbital ring road?

We’re building the North East Link that will provide the best connection between our city’s north and south-east. We need to build a road that will ease congestion and take trucks off local roads. Performance is more important than the shape of the road.

We’ve looked carefully at where people and freight are travelling to and from now, and where people will be living and working as Melbourne’s population grows.

The map below shows Melbourne’s forecast population density in 2051 and how North East Link will link key growth corridors in the north and south-east and hug the outer edge of urban areas.

What is the geotechnical testing for?

The testing will provide valuable information about ground conditions across Melbourne's north-eastern suburbs. After the drilling is completed, the sites will be restored.

Are there any employment opportunities?

The project will create thousands of jobs during construction and early operation. During project planning, you can keep up to date on latest career opportunities with the North East Link Authority at careers.vic.gov.au.