North East Link will finally connect Melbourne's freeway network between the Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road in Melbourne’s north-east. The project includes major upgrades to the Eastern Freeway from Springvale Road including Melbourne’s first dedicated busway from Doncaster towards the city.
North East Link will be a safe and efficient freeway connection for up to 135,000 vehicles a day, slashing travel times, getting trucks off local roads and linking key growth areas in the north and south-east.
North East Link will connect an upgraded Eastern Freeway to the M80 Ring Road in Melbourne’s north-east. The Eastern Freeway will connect to North East Link at a new interchange next to Bulleen Road.
North East Link will then continue into a 6-kilometre tunnel heading north, with interchanges at Manningham Road and Lower Plenty Road. The tunnel will extend to Blamey Road and then keep travelling north in a deep trench running next to Greensborough Road. North East Link will rise to surface level road just past Watsonia Station and connect to two new interchanges at Grimshaw Street and the M80 Ring Road.
Early works for North East Link have started, with around 100 above and below ground services including power, water, gas, sewer and telecommunications lines to be moved out of the way. Major construction for North East Link will start in 2021 with North East Link expected to open to traffic in 2027.
You can view our timeline here.
The business case for North East Link estimates the project to cost around $16 billion.
The full cost of upgrades to the Eastern Freeway are 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, are also included.
Yes. North East Link will be funded by a combination of government contributions and tolls. North East Link will be tolled but there will be no new tolls on existing routes. This includes no tolls to use the Eastern Freeway, Greensborough Highway/Bypass and the M80 Ring Road.
Tolling points and prices for North East Link have not yet been finalised. Prices are expected to be in line with other tolls around metropolitan Melbourne.
We have been working hard to minimise acquisition as much as possible. We’ve been able to bring acquisition numbers down to 36 residential homes and around 100 businesses and are working closely with bidders to see to try and reduce this number further through the detailed design stage.
Our landowner team is in regular contact with affected owners and businesses, and we will continue to keep them updated throughout the planning, design and acquisition process - read more.
Traffic modelling shows that there will be no increase in traffic in the Hoddle Street grid as a result of North East Link.
A small number of vehicles are predicted to use North East Link to access the city, but these won’t be new trips. They would be vehicles already using arterial roads (such as Lower Heidelberg Road) to get to the city that would redistribute onto North East Link and an upgraded Eastern Freeway to take advantage of faster travel times.
All main traffic lanes will be 100km/hr. The speed limit in the tunnels will be 80km/hr.
North East Link will apply a noise standard of 63dB(A), which is consistent with the toughest standard used in Victoria. A strict lower night time noise standard of 58dB(A) also applies. To meet the project noise standard, existing noise walls will need to be upgraded and new noise walls built in most areas along the project.
Noise walls will be designed to meet the project’s Urban Design Strategy and there will be opportunities for the community to comment when designs are released this year.
This year the project is assessing two detailed bids and will select a preferred bidder in the middle of the year. We’ll then work closely with them to finalise their design and share details with the community before the end of the year.
The community will get a chance to have a further say on key design elements through the Urban Design and Landscape Plans for the project.
North East Link is Victoria’s largest ever road project and we’re taking the time now, at the very front end, to get the best possible design for Victoria and the local community. We’re also ensuring we build this large, complex project in smart ways.
In late 2020 we made changes to the tender process to include a concept design for the entire North East Link project and a detailed design for the tunnels, which the preferred bidder will also build.
The teams are updating their proposals now and using the added time to go the extra mile.