North East Link - Latest Designs

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North East Link will fix the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network, connecting the M80 with an upgraded Eastern Freeway. It will be a safe and efficient freeway connection for up to 135,000 vehicles a day, linking key growth areas in the north and south-east.

The new freeway connection will:

  • Cut travel times by up to 35 minutes
  • Take 15,000 trucks off local roads a day
  • Deliver more than 25 kilometres of new walking and cycling paths
  • Create more than 10,000 Victorian jobs

North East Link includes:

  • Victoria’s longest road tunnels: three-lane twin tunnels travelling for six kilometres, protecting properties and the sensitive Banyule Flats area
  • Interchanges at the M80 Ring Road, Grimshaw Street, Lower Plenty Road, Manningham Road and Bulleen Road
  • Melbourne’s first dedicated busway with express lanes along the Eastern Freeway from Doncaster towards the city.

The idea for a North East Link was first considered in 1929. It is now identified as Victoria's priority road project by Infrastructure Victoria and will be the single biggest investment in road transport infrastructure in Victorian history.

Project timeline

Over the past two years, we’ve been working on the technical studies needed for planning approvals, including the preparation of an Environment Effects Statement (EES).

An EES is Victoria’s most stringent and transparent impact assessment process. It gives decision makers such as the Minister for Planning and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria, the information they need to determine whether planning approvals should be granted and what conditions should apply.

September - October 2019 – After the public hearings the independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) prepared a report of recommendations and submitted it to the Minister for Planning. The report was provided to the Minister within 30 business days of the completion of the public hearing.

5 December 2019 – The Minister for Planning released IAC’s report including their recommendations together with his assessment on the environmental effects of the project. The Minister’s assessment considered the committee’s recommendations as well as the information presented in the EES, public submissions and evidence presented during the public hearings, and ultimately concluded that the environmental effects could be satisfactorily managed.

December 2019 – North East Link reviewed the assessment in detail and submitted a revised Planning Scheme Amendment to the Minister for Planning.

The revised Planning Scheme Amendment (GC98) was approved by the Minister for Planning on 23 December 2019 and gazetted on 3 January 2020. A copy is available on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website here.

In addition to receiving planning approval in Victoria through the EES process, the project received approval from the Commonwealth Government in December 2019 under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. More information about the Commonwealth approval process is available here.

January 2020 - The Environmental Performance Requirements the project will need to meet during planning, construction and operation will be reviewed and approved by the Minister for Planning in the coming months as part of an Environmental Management Framework. EPA Victoria is expected to make a decision on the Works Approval Application for the construction and the operation of the tunnel ventilation structures soon.

Separate to the EES process, The Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) is expected to be approved by the Wurundjeri and Aboriginal Victoria in the next few weeks.

2020 - Early works for North East Link are expected to start in early 2020.

2021 - Construction for North East Link is expected to start by 2021.

2027 - North East Link is expected to open to traffic in 2027.

Project map - September 2018