The Victorian Labor Party has announced it will begin work on the North East Link as part of the 2018/2019 state budget if re-elected.
The $16.5 billion North East Link aims to reduce congestion across Melbourne’s north-east, divert thousands of trucks off of local roads, and create 10,000 new jobs during construction.
The link plans to cut travel times by 30 minutes in each direction and save time for people travelling to Melbourne Airport from the south and east.
The project is estimated to take 15,000 trucks and 9000 vehicles off of local roads and traffic hotspots like Rosanna Road, Lower Plenty Road and Fitzsimmons Lane.
If re-elected, the Labor Party has said it will invest an addition $110 million to fast track the completion of the planning and design phases to get the project to market as quickly as possible.
Planning studies and community consultation began last year when the project corridor was announced in 2017 and full reference designs are expected to be released later in 2018.
Works are also planned for Rosanna road, with a $3.12 million congestions reduction and safety upgrade, and six new lanes added at Springvale Road to remove bottlenecks.
A five-kilometre tunnel is also planned to start at Bulleen road and travel beneath the Yarra River to protect the sensitive wildlife and residential areas.
Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said the project has been talked about for decades and is independently assessed as Victoria’s most needed transport infrastructure project.
“Now, we’re getting on with it to give local roads back to local drivers,” Mr Donnellan said.