Andrews funding pledge to accelerate North East Link
Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews has committed to spending $110 million to fast track the completion of the North East Link – ahead of the state election, scheduled for 24 November this year.
The link has been the focus of much advocacy over the years, particularly by the Victorian Transport Association ( VTA). In an announcement, Andrews says that procurement work on the extension would begin 100 days after the election if his government was returned.
Valued at a total of $16.5 billion, the North East Link is to connect Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway at Bulleen with the M80 Ring Road.
The North East Link will include a five- kilometre tunnel from Bulleen to Rosanna to protect parkland and residential areas, emerging north of Lower Plenty Road, running alongside the existing Greensborough Highway before connecting to the expanded M80.
The government says that the six- lane North East Link will cut travel times between the south and north of the city by up to 30 minutes.
Andrews also committed another $3.1 million to works on Rosanna Road as part of the announcement.
The proposal was rubbished by Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy, who says that he and his party were committed to developing the East West Link, a plan that was ditched by the Andrews government when it came to power in 2014.
The East West Link is a proposed 18km tollway that was to connect the Eastern Freeway at Clifton Hill to the M80 Ring Road at Sunshine West, which included a 4.4km tunnel under Alexandra Parade and Melbourne Cemetery.
The former Liberal government, led by Dennis Napthine, committed to building the first stage of the project weeks out from the 2014 election – but Andrews refused to honour the contract, in favour of the North East Link project.