North East Link
The North East Link is a freeway planned to run through Melbourne's north eastern suburbs. It was first proposed in the 1969 Melbourne Transport Plan, and is designed to provide a road connection between the Metropolitan Ring Road in Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway / EastLink junction in Ringwood. It was included in the Brumby government's 2008 Victorian Transport Plan, with an estimated cost of over A$6 billion.
The North East Link freeway would be designated as State Route Number M80 (as per the existing Metropolitan Ring Road).
The North East Link – often marketed as the ‘missing link’ in Melbourne’s orbital road network – will provide an additional major Yarra River crossing for Melbourne.
Three proposed routes for the North East Link were identified by consultation report prepared by GHD Consulting for the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Route 1: An eastern option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to EastLink via Kangaroo Ground and Chirnside Park.
Route 2: A central option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to EastLink via Eltham and Warrandyte.
Route 3: A western option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to Eastern Freeway at Bulleen via Watsonia.
Controversially Route 3 was selected as the preferred route. The link proposes a combination of above-ground roadway and tunnel between Lower Plenty Road and the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Road which will traverse the Banyule Flats and Yarra River. Two tunnel proposals have been provided citing selection based on budgetary input. A shorter tunnel from Lower Plenty Rd to Bulleen Rd exiting near Heide museum and a longer tunnel from Lower Plenty Rd through to the Eastern Freeway. However the final details of the route are yet to be completed and further detailed engineering investigations and community consultation will be undertaken before finalising a route alignment and design for the road connection.
This project was submitted to the federal Government of Australia for funding consideration.
- The proposed route will complete Melbourne's Ring Road project by linking the Metropolitan Ring Road to EastLink via the Eastern Freeway. This route could result in potential additional delays on the Eastern Freeway as orbital ring road traffic is added to peak in and out bound traffic heading to and from the Melbourne CBD. The use of alternative routes could avoid this potential problem.
- The freeway may physically divide the local community and result in local residents having difficulty in accessing public services and amenities such as schools, shops and transport.
- The interchange at Bulleen Road may be a complex tunnel/fly-over arrangement requiring land acquisitions from the adjacent Freeway Golf Course and tennis centre significantly diminishing the local amenity.
- The proposed route will impact the proposed Doncaster railway line, Melbourne along the Eastern Freeway.
- The route options assessment listed in the "North East Link Infrastructure Australia Proposal to Commonwealth of Australia" (obtained via Freedom of Information) contains no quantitative data supporting the economical costings when comparing routes.
- The North East Link will only provide a 9 minute decrease in travel time for freight traveling from the Hume corridor to/from Melbourne’s eastern and south eastern suburbs when compared to the existing freight route of Tullamarine and WestGate/Monash Freeways.
- The project will require a trade-off between environmental and sustainability objectives, compared with increased road traffic.
- The Banyule Flats, the Warringal Parklands and the Yarra Corridor (the areas to be affected by the proposed freeway, tunnel or viaduct) are one the last unaltered natural areas in the inner North East and are extensively used for recreation. The Banyule City Council recently tabled a proposal to have the Banyule Flats, the Warringal Parklands and the Yarra Corridor made into a Heritage listed area.
North East Link would complete the Melbourne's Ring Road project and is estimated to carry around 100,000 vehicles a day, providing non-stop movement and easier access for freight operators, particularly between the growing industrial areas around Ringwood, Dandenong, Campbellfield and the new freight-hub near Donnybrook.
With Melbourne’s north expected to be home to around one million people in 2026, it is posited that the North East Link will reduce reliance on Fitzsimons Lane, Heidelberg Road and Rosanna Road, and enhance road access to Melbourne Airport as well as popular regional and interstate destinations.
- In 2002, prior to the state election, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor and local ALP state member Craig Langdon promised to Banyule Town Hall that the North East Link would not be built.
- The proposed freeway was a major factor in the resignation of the local MP for Ivanhoe. On 25 August 2010, Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon resigned from state politics stating: "My resignation also enables me to maintain a long-held commitment to the electorate, which was to resign from the government if I believed it was likely to build a freeway through Viewbank, Heidelberg and the Banyule Flats. Unfortunately, it appears that this could now be the case".
Current Political Polices
- Labor party candidate for Ivanhoe, Anthony Carbines advised that he supported the tunnel option but not an above-ground freeway. "there will not be an above ground freeway". Many people in the crowd took issue with this, saying that such a project could easily degenerate into an above-ground freeway for part or all of the route due to budgeting constraints as evidence in previous projects such as the Footscray rail tunnel.
- Liberal party candidate for Ivanhoe, Carl Ziebell states that the Liberal party does not support the freeway without an economical, environmental and social impact statements. In essence the party would not commit to a freeway or tunnel and that both options were 'off the table' until more investigation was done. No firm commitments could be given either way.
- Greens party candidate for Ivanhoe, Paul Kennedy is against the proposed freeway route and is in favour of stopping trucks via curfews on Rosanna road, duplicate the Husrtbridge rail line to increase train frequency and increase smartBus standards for the Banyule area.
|2002||Minister for Transport Labor MP Peter Bachelor and Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon promise local community at Heidelberg town hall that the North East Freeway would not be built.|
|2007||Eddington Report Released, suggesting development of North East link|
|September 2008||GHD release North East link Assessment proposal|
|8 December 2008||Minister for Roads and Ports, Labor MP Tim Pallas, announces plans for North East link|
|10 August 2010||Banyule Council contacts Tim Pallas, expressing its disappointment in what appears to be a lack of transparency in the planning process for the North East Link and requests:
|24 August 2010||Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon resigns, urging referendum on Transport Plan.|
|6 September 2010||Tim Pallas replies to Banyule council advising;
|6 October 2010||North East Link freeway public meeting held at The Centre in Ivanhoe|
|23 November 2010||Ex-Labor MP Craig Langdon letter boxes thousands of residents of Rosanna, Heidelberg and Ivanhoe with flyer titled "No freeway through Banyule" criticising Anthony Carbines who was preselected as his successor.|
|24 November 2010||Labor announce costing for the proposal of planning, investigative, and environmental assessment activities for the North East Link at $15.4M. Scheduled to commence in 2012‐13.|
|27 November 2010||ALP MP Anthony Carbines wins seat of Ivanhoe with 36% of primary vote and 51% of preferred vote. The Baillieu Coalition government wins state election with no firm commitment to the North East Link.|
|9 March 2011||At the Metropolitan Transport Forum Liberal MP Terry Mulder states that the new Victorian government would continue to pursue funding for the NE link despite not receiving any funding from the federal government’s advisory body Infrastructure Australia.|
|11 May 2011||Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Edward O'Donohue states that NE Link is not part of the new Government's agenda but will be considered in the broader Metropolitan Planning Review which includes all aspects of planning across Melbourne including transport.|
|14 August 2013||Roads Minister Terry Mulder's spokeswoman, Larissa Garvin, states that investigation will continue and that "tunneling will be required to protect existing urban areas and to minimise environmental impact on the Banyule Flats and Yarra River, with further planning work still needed."|
The North East Link freeway is in the initial stages of the planning process in which the nature and scope of the project is being determined. On 9 March 2011, MP Terry Mulder stated that the government would continue to pursue funding for the North East Link. In addition, Mulder said the Coalition would consider rolling out the project in stages. Scoping work for the freeway was due to be completed in April, with a report due mid-year. Pending the outcome of the report, a feasibility study might be initiated.
- Page 5, http://www.friendsofbanyule.org/media/13591/ia-2009-northeastlink-stage1-6.pdf
- Kenneth Davidson | WestLink | VicRoads | Government Spending
- The Age : Freeway dissenter urges referendum 2010/08/25.
- Article Friends of Banyule Public Meeting a GREAT SUCCESS, http://www.friendsofbanyule.org/
- Chasing NE Link funding a wrong turn | Friends of Banyule Blog
- The Coalition government and the NE Link | Friends of Banyule Blog
- No Cookies | Herald Sun
- North East Link : VicRoads
- Victorian Transport Plan | Baillieu Shelves Blueprint
- Funds doubt on Brumby's tunnels, says Mulder
- Fairfax Media Limited (FXJ): Australasia's leading media company
- GHD Consulting Report presented to Department of Premier and Cabinet : North-East Link Assessment Proposal
- VicRoads: North East Link
- Friends of Banyule : Opposition to North East Link Freeway
- Friends of Banyule : Friends of Banyule Blog
- North East Link Infrastructure Australia Proposal to Commonwealth of Australia