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|Tullamarine Freeway at Airport West|
|Length||13 km (8 mi)|
|Northwest end||Sunbury Road (C743), Tullamarine, Melbourne|
|Southeast end||CityLink (State Route 43), Pascoe Vale, Melbourne|
|Major suburbs / towns|
|Highways in Australia
National Highway • Freeways in Australia
Highways in Victoria
Tullamarine Freeway is one of the oldest freeways in Melbourne, with the first section between Melbourne and Essendon airports officially opening on 2 April 1968. It was intended to replace Lancefield Road (now Melrose Drive), Tullamarine and parts of Bulla Road, Essendon, providing easy access to the newly built Melbourne Airport. A spur was constructed to link with the Calder Highway at Airport West. From Essendon, a new section heading east to Pascoe Vale and then south along the Moonee Ponds Creek to Mt Alexander Road, Flemington replaced Mount Alexander Road as the main route to the city.
The freeway was initially designated F81 for the whole stretch from Tullamarine to Flemington. The short Calder Highway link was designated the Calder Freeway (F90). The freeway was originally designated in the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan as the F14 Freeway corridor.
With its completion, citybound heavy vehicles from Hume Highway were diverted here via Pascoe Vale Road. In the 1990s, the completion of the Western Ring Road increased traffic tremendously. It was only relieved by the completion of CityLink, widening the freeway to 8 lanes (two of these being transit lanes) and extending it south to the West Gate Freeway. The improved sections are now tolled.
The freeway is used by Skybus Super Shuttle services to Melbourne Airport, and in 2002 the Victorian government contributed $3 million to a $10 million plan to expand and improve these services, after a feasibility study into an airport rail link found the number of passengers using a train would not make the scheme economically viable.
The Calder Freeway interchange was completed earlier than expected in mid-2007, which underwent dramatic roadworks to alleviate congestion. All works are now complete, with the end result being the decommissioning and removal of two offramps, an additional two lanes inbound, and dedicated Bulla Road-Calder Freeway spurs to eliminate weaving, notorious for many accidents in the area.
Another project now completed is a new bridge and northern entrance to the Essendon Airport through the interchange of Melrose Drive, to provide easy access for the people living in the northern suburbs to access the Essendon Airport district.
Today the official start of the freeway is at Pascoe Vale Road, as the original southern sections was upgraded in the late 1990s as part of CityLink. Here it is a three lane, high quality dual carriageway, running along the south side of Essendon Airport and the Direct Factory Outlets shopping complex, the former main airport of Melbourne. At the Calder Freeway interchange, staying to the right will lead you to the next section of the Tullamarine Freeway.
The next section is quite narrow, with two lanes running either way and a concrete barrier (later grass and shrubbery) in the middle of the road. Melrose Drive runs alongside its airport-bound side. This section is frequently congested due to the combination of freight traffic from the Hume Highway, which is accessed from the Western Ring Road interchange, and the traffic from the airport. After the ring road interchange, the traffic is slightly better, leading to the Melbourne Airport off ramp, after which the freeway ends.
The travel time on the Tullamarine Freeway in both directions, is 16 minutes. (Inbound: 4 minutes between Melbourne Airport and the Western Ring Road, 5 minutes between the Western Ring Road and Bell Street and 7 minutes between Bell Street and the West Gate Freeway. Outbound: The exact same, except 8 minutes from the West Gate Freeway to Pascoe Vale Road and 3 minutes from the Western Ring Road to Melbourne Airport).
The usual peak period travel time, is between 19–30 minutes. It's usually around 19 minutes for the majority of the daylight hours inbound, because there is only one lane to merge with the West Gate Freeway city bound, hence slowing traffic over the Bolte Bridge section. However, during times of extreme congestion, including being residual due to an incident, the travel time can well exceed half an hour.
Exits and interchanges
|Hume||Melbourne Airport||0||0||Sunbury Road (C743) north / Centre RoadMelbourne Airport,||North-western freeway terminus: continues as Sunbury Road; northbound entry from and southbound exit to Centre Road, and northbound entry from airport|
|0.95||0.59||Centre Road – Melbourne Airport||Northbound exit and southbound entry only|
|Mercer Drive – Melbourne Airport terminal 4||Northbound exit and southbound entry only|
|Westmeadows–Tullamarine–Gladstone Park tripoint||3.3||2.1||Mickleham Road (State Route 39 south / State Route 48 north)|
|Hume–Moreland boundary||Tullamarine–Gladstone Park–Gowanbrae tripoint||5.1||3.2||Western Ring Road (M80) , Sydney, Bendigo, Geelong, Adelaide||No access north-eastbound to southbound or northbound to south-westbound|
|Moonee Valley||Airport West–Strathmore Heights–Essendon Fields tripoint||6.3||3.9||Melrose Drive north-west / Wirraway Road south-eastEssendon Airport,||No entry northbound; southbound exit to Wirraway Road only|
|Airport West–Essendon Fields–Niddrie–Essendon North quadripoint||8.6||5.3||Calder Freeway (M79 / State Route 40)||Partial Y interchange: South-eastbound entry and north-westbound exit only|
|Essendon Fields–Essendon North–Strathmore tripoint||9.5||5.9||Bulla Road (State Route 37 south)|
|Bell Street (State Route 40)||Eastbound exit and westbound entry only|
|11.3||7.0||CityLink (State Route 43) – Melbourne City Centre||South-eastern freeway terminus: continues south as CityLink|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Freeway Route Numbering System, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
- Metropolitan Route Numbering System - 1989 Changes, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
- National Routes, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
- Better buses replace dumped rail link, The Age, 12 June 2002.
- Google Inc. "Tullamarine Freeway". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://www.google.com.au/maps/dir/-37.6694367,144.855746/-37.7336357,144.9243888/@-37.7140526,144.887392,13z/data=!4m9!4m8!1m5!3m4!1m2!1d144.8844165!2d-37.6929655!3s0x6ad65bd2ab7f1693:0x7fafbd87e02fd816!1m0!3e0. Retrieved 5 June 2014.