The Victorian Government plans to spend billions of dollars to complete the “missing link” in Melbourne’s Metropolitan Ring Road.
The State Government says it will sign contracts for the project if it is re-elected in 2018, in order to give Victorian voters “their say on this vital project without binding future governments”.
Brian Negus, RACV’s general manager, public policy, says RACV has lobbied for the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road for many years.
Mr Negus says there are two likely alignments for the North East Link, which would connect the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway. Both alignments would involve a significant tunnel section. The shortest route, south from Greensborough to Bulleen Road, would be the most affordable and option and it would attract the most traffic, he says.
The longer route would be in the form of an arc from Greensborough to Ringwood to complete the Ring Road.
The toll road project would cost about $10 billion and create 5000 jobs.
Mr Negus welcomed the project saying the North East Link is Victoria’s highest-priority transport project.
“Our recent Red Spot survey on traffic congestion showed that six of the top 10 worst-congested spots in Melbourne were clustered across the Eastern Freeway and five of them were on the routes that this particular project will solve,” Mr Negus says.
“These include Bulleen Road, Banksia Street Bridge, Rosanna Road and Greensborough Highway, and also Fitzsimons Lane and Main Road through Eltham and Greensborough.”
Mr Negus says the project would take many trucks, which need to get from Melbourne’s south-east to the Hume Freeway, Tullamarine Airport and beyond, off the Monash Freeway.
“The North East Link would also provide a direct freight link from the freight centres around Dandenong and from the agricultural regions in Gippsland to the fruit and vegetable markets at Epping.”
Mr Negus says North East Link was also the top priority transport project for the Victorian Transport Association – representing the freight sector in Victoria, and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – representing a wide range of business and industry companies across Victoria. He said the “Resolve Rosanna Road” community Group also supported the North East Link.
Mr Negus says the project will also address the severe congestion across the north-east of Melbourne, and importantly it addresses the critical safety issues along Rosanna Road.