Missing North East Link is desperately needed

RACV and the Vic Transport Association join forces

The peak representative groups RACV and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) joined forces on 16th February 2016 to call on the Victorian and Federal Governments to build the North East Link as a matter of urgency. Both bodies say the North East Link – the “missing link” in Melbourne’s ring road system – is long overdue and will dramatically help reduce the city’s crippling traffic congestion problems.

RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said completion of the M80 Metropolitan Ring Road from Greensborough to East Link has long been RACV’s top priority road transport and infrastructure project. This project is a critical part of RACV’s overall road and public transport agenda to improve liveability and economic development for all Victorians. The missing link in the Ring Road is a vital piece of city-shaping infrastructure – a road of national significance that should be a top priority to attract Commonwealth funding.

The combined call of RACV, VTA, AusVEG, the national peak industry body representing the interests of Australian vegetable and potato growers. and the Resolve Rosanna Road group was featured in RoyalAuto and the launch covered by Leader Newspapers, TV, radio and trade magazines. The project also has the support of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the peak body for business in Victoria.

Successive Governments have dragged their heels on this critical road link and Melbournians in the north-east have had enough of the frequent traffic grid lock and their safety being at risk as large volumes of trucks wind their way through the arterial road network. Victoria desperately needs the State and Federal Governments to cooperate to commence work finalising the planning for the North East Link, to ensure it is built.

The North East Link will provide a significant boost to freight productivity by directly connecting the freight centre around Dandenong and the agricultural centres in Gippsland with the Hume Freeway, the new fruit and vegetable market in Epping, and other interstate corridors.

The Chief Executive of the VTA, Mr Peter Anderson, said a knee-jerk plan for night curfews on trucks on key north-south roads in the area has made the situation worse for freight operators.

“Because of the curfews we are seeing more trucks on these roads during the morning peak, which presents safety risks and adds to congestion. Curfews have served to put more trucks on the road during the day.”

Mr Anderson said construction of the North East Link would resolve congestion and also resident concerns about heavy vehicles in the area.

“We would expect a significant reduction in truck traffic on surrounding suburban roads by as much as 40 per cent. There would also be immediate environmental benefits with trucks being better utilised and using less fuel.

“These benefits would flow throw to the general economy over time because more deliveries could be made throughout the day and congestion on inner roads would reduce due to the notable reduction of trucks,” Mr Anderson said.

In February, Mr Anderson and Mr Negus called on the Victorian Government to make North East Link a priority and to fast-track the formative planning to make it a reality.

This video shows the journey from the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough to the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink, via Greensborough Highway and Rosanna Road. The North East Link would provide a more direct route for motorists travelling between Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs, and places further beyond them.

Image: David Crosling and Leader Newspapers

Written by Brian Negus, General Manager Public Policy
April 22, 2016