7 November 2018 – The strong trend of government investment in infrastructure looks sets to continue well into the next decade with the Victorian Government’s proposed North East Link roadway a step closer following Infrastructure Australia’s move to have the project listed as a high priority on the organisation’s Priority List.
The decision by nation’s independent infrastructure advisor to add the project to the list – which Infrastructure Australia describes as an authoritative list of nationally significant investments Australia needs over the coming 15 years – comes weeks out from the state election.
The $15.8 billion project consists of a new 11 km “freeway-standard” roadway connecting Melbourne’s M3 Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road between Doncaster and Greensborough, upgrades to sections of the M80 and M3 Eastern Freeway and an additional 10.6 km of bus lanes between Doncaster and the city. With Melbourne’s north east already home to around one fifth of the city’s population, a figure expected to grow over the next three decades, the project can’t come quick enough.
In making its announcement, Infrastructure Australia also pointed to the economic impact citing findings from the 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit which found that delays on Melbourne’s urban transport network already cost the economy $3 billion per year and without additional capacity this figure could grow to around $9 billion by 2031.
According to Infrastructure Australia, the improved connectivity between Melbourne’s south east and north will ease congestion on arterial roads, particularly on the M1 Monash Freeway. For drivers, that could mean travel time savings of up to 30 minutes between the M80 and M3 Eastern Freeway.
Infrastructure Australia Acting Chief Executive, Anna Chau, said, “Infrastructure Australia considers this congestion problem to be nationally significant. Without action, the network will become increasingly strained, particularly with the future expansion of major industrial precincts in the north and south east.”