Eastern Freeway (Melbourne)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
|Length||18 km (11 mi)|
|Major suburbs / towns||Bulleen, Doncaster, Box Hill North|
The Eastern Freeway is an urban freeway in eastern Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia. It is one of the most important freeways in terms of commuting to the city, connecting Alexandra Parade and Hoddle Street in the inner suburbs, with EastLink tollway farther east. It consists of between three to six lanes (including the Hard Shoulder Running lane during peak periods) in each direction, also an inbound transit lane reserved for vehicles with two or more occupants during peak hours.
Originally designated F-19 during its construction in the early 1970s, it was supposed to be linked to the then-new Tullamarine Freeway, as well as taking traffic off the Maroondah Highway. Protests from inner Melbourne suburbs residents led it being terminated at Hoddle Street. Its initial route designation was F83 then State Route 83 and now the M3. The current incarnation was constructed in stages from 1977 to 2008:
- Stage 1: From Hoddle Street to Bulleen Road; opened in December 1977.
- Stage 2: From Bulleen Road to Doncaster Road; opened on 3 June 1982.
- Stage 3: From Doncaster Road to Springvale Road; opened in December 1997.
- Stage 4: From Springvale Road to the Frankston Freeway
Originally, the freeway was to terminate at the intersection of Maroondah Highway and Mount Dandenong Road in Ringwood. It was meant to connect to the Eastern Ring Road before that. Instead, the Eastern Ring Road and the last Eastern Freeway extension was merged into one project (Eastlink) and the remainder of the Eastern Freeway reservation was built into the Ringwood bypass, which opened in July 2008.
The first stage, from Hoddle Street to Bulleen Road, was contrtoversial and met much opposition because it was constructed through the middle of Yarra Bend Park. The first two stages were designed to enable the construction of the Doncaster railway line down the centre of the freeway to Bulleen Road. An extra-wide median strip, which was kept free of support pylons for over-bridges, was provided to allow for the railway.
Land was also reserved from Bulleen Road to Doncaster East to extend the proposed railway line, but the plan fell out of favour in the 1980s and the land was sold. In recent years, amidst growing congestion problems and increased awareness of unsustainable methods of transport in Melbourne, there has been massive local council lobbying (by Melbourne, Yarra and Manningham) and public pressure placed on the State Government for the rail line to be constructed. The final stage, completed in 2008, connected the freeway to the Ringwood Bypass and the Monash and Frankston Freeways.
The Eastern Freeway starts at its junction with Hoddle Street, as an eastern continuation of Alexandra Parade (referred to in VicRoads documents as the Eastern Highway), with five lanes eastbound and two lanes westbound. Three more lanes (that provide an exit to Hoddle Street) join the freeway after it leaves the junction. The freeway narrows to four lanes in each direction near Chandler Highway and Yarra Bend.
The freeway narrows to three lanes just before Bulleen Road, and features a concrete barrier rather than the grassy median that was designed to carry a railway. There is a short four lane section between Tram and Blackburn Roads, then three lanes to the end at Springvale Road, and connects to EastLink to Ringwood and Frankston. The freeway was unique in that it did not connect to any other freeway prior to EastLink being built.
The usual peak period travel time, is between 16–26 minutes. However, during times of extreme congestion, including being residual from an incident, the travel time can go way beyond half an hour.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2010)|
Despite the inherent danger in small and large vehicles traveling at high speeds, the freeway is generally considered one of the safest in Melbourne, with minimal height changes and flowing route, ample shoulder space and well maintained safety barriers. Long sections of the freeway suffer from low lighting levels due to its route and proximity to residential areas.
In the seven years preceding and including 2009, six people died in a section of the freeway known as the Bulleen Bend. This is the tightest bend in the freeway's length, between the Bulleen and Doncaster Road interchanges. Despite the relatively tight bend and 100 km/h limit, there are few safety barriers on the extremities of the road surface, leaving nothing between the cars and the trees on the road shoulder. In 2009 it was announced that $5 million would be spent on installing new barriers in this section.
There has been widespread speculation that a tunnel linking Hoddle Street to CityLink and the Western Ring Road could potentially be built at some future date. The Eastern Freeway has no connecting freeways at the city end and traffic from the Eastern Freeway is released westward along Alexandra Parade and north-south along Hoddle Street.
On 1 March 2007, the Labor Government announced a study linking the major freeways, headed by international transport expert Sir Rod Eddington. The Eddington Transport Report received much criticism for its lack of information regarding mass transit infrastructure. The Labor government said it will eventually be built, but in stages. There has been no confirmation on the building of the road except a part of the western section.
The entire freeway has a 100 km/h (62 mph) speed limit. There are no fixed speed cameras, however Victoria Police regularly patrol the full length of the freeway to enforce the speed limit. VicRoads also operates a network of CCTV cameras across the entire length of the freeway and abnormal traffic movements by vehicles are reported to Victoria Police.
Exits and Interchanges
|Westbound exits||Distance to
|End Eastern Freeway
continues as Alexandra Parade
to Parkville / Footscray
|4||62||Start Eastern Freeway
from Alexandra Parade
|Richmond, Clifton Hill
|no exit||10||56||Heidelberg, Camberwell
|Balwyn North, Doncaster
|14||52||Doncaster, Balwyn North
|no exit||16||50||Doncaster, Burwood
|Box Hill, Doncaster
Station Street / Tram Road
|Mount Waverley, Templestowe
Middleborough Road / Wetherby Road
|18||48||Templestowe, Mount Waverley
Wetherby Road / Middleborough Road
|no exit||20||46||Warrandyte, Blackburn
Blackburn Road / Surrey Road
|Start Eastern Freeway
continues from EastLink
|End Eastern Freeway
continues as EastLink
to Ringwood / Frankston
- Route Numbering History, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
- M3 Eastern Freeway - Melbourne's gateway to the east, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
- Stephen Cauchi (February 1998). "Whatever Happened to the Proposed Railway to Doncaster East". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)) 26 (2): page 40–44.
- How to fix Melbourne's woes
- http://mrv.ozroads.net.au/SRNS/M%20Routes/M3%20Eastern/history.htm[self-published source]