North East Link

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North East Link

General information
TypeFreeway  (Proposed)
Route number(s)
  • M80
Major junctions
North end
  Greensborough Highway (State Route 46)
South end
Highway system

The North East Link is a proposed 26-kilometre motorway scheme in Melbourne, Australia, to connect the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough with the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen, where the freeway would be upgraded from Bulleen Road to Springvale Road at Nunawading, as well as the construction of a new dedicated busway. On 11 December 2016, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that a re-elected Labor government would build the North East Link at a cost of $10 billion and construction would commence in late 2020,[1] with an expected completion in 2027.[2]

The North East Link freeway would be presumably designated as Route Number M80 (as per the existing Metropolitan Ring Road).


1969–1972: Bolte Government Plans[edit]

In 1969 the Bolte Government unveils its Transportation Plan which outlines multiple freeway corridors in Melbourne to be built including the F7 and F18 corridors which was designed to provide a freeway connection between the Metropolitan Ring Road in Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Flats or the EastLink junction in Ringwood.

1973–1976: Hamer Government Cancelations[edit]

After Henry Bolte's resignation in 1972, his Liberal successor Rupert Hamer announced in 1973 that some of Bolte’s freeway plans are to be pruned, especially those proposed for the inner city (including most/nearly all of the F7 and F18 corridors).[3] As this was the case, Hamer later announced in 1976 that his government would cancell all road reservations for the unbuilt urban freeways at that time, making the remaining road corridors across Melbourne disconnected.

1978: Alternative Proposals[edit]

The Joint Road Planning Group developed four 'Preliminary Alternative Proposals' which their Study Office described in "Outer Ring Diamond Creek to Ringwood Study, Bulletin 2", July 1978.

Concept A[edit]

"The general improvement of selected main roads in the area to provide for local needs without specific provision for circumferential outer ring traffic."

Concept B[edit]

"An upgrading of selected roads in the area including, for example, the duplication of Fitzsimons Lane Bridge, to facilitate both the local and circumferential traffic."

The key roads to be developed were Fitzsimons Lane, Main Road, Wattle Tree Road, Ryans Road and, to the south, Williamsons Road, Reynolds Road (Templestowe), Andersons Creek Road and Springvale Road.

Concept C[edit]

"A new arterial road connection, utilising some existing road reservations, but requiring a new crossing over the Yarra Valley."

The connection was to go east from Greensborough along Allandale Road (three alternatives) to Reynolds Road (Eltham), south following the transmission lines to a new bridge at Target Road, along Andersons Creek Road or Mullum Mullum Valley and then along Reynolds Road (Templestowe) and Springvale Road.

Concept D[edit]

"A new freeway reservation to link the F5 at Diamond Creek to the Scoresby Freeway at Ringwood."

These routes from went east from Greensborough and then south, either along Reynolds Road to a bridge at Target Road or "East of Research" to a bridge at Alexander Road. South of the river, routes along either Mullum Mullum Valley, or the ridge to the east, connected to the proposed Eastern Freeway extension near Quarry Road or Glenvale Road.

Bridges would cross at Diamond Creek Road, Ryans Road, Allandale Road, Main Road, Mt Pleasant Road, Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road, Reynolds Road, Tindalls Road, Park Road, Heads Road, Huggins Road, Deep Creek Road and Whitehorse Road.

2002–2007: Bracks Government and Eddington Report[edit]

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.[4] In 2007, the Eddington Report by Sir Rod Eddington was released, recommending the development of a North East Link.

2008–2010: Brumby Government Proposal[edit]

In September 2008, the GHD released a North East link Assessment Proposal.

On 8 December 2008, then Minister for Roads and Ports, Labor MP Tim Pallas, under the Brumby Government, announced plans for a North East link.[5] A North East Link proposal was included in the Brumby government's 2008 Victorian Transport Plan, with an estimated cost of over A$6 billion.

On 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:

  • Briefing of all options for the North-East Link and any costings and cost benefit analysis.
  • VicRoads to advise of any new proposals that may be developed for the construction of this link.
  • Confirmation if a surface link has been considered and any costings for that link.
  • Confirmation as to whether a surface link is in VicRoads view still a valid option.
  • VicRoads to undertake full public consultation.[6]

The proposed freeway was a major factor in the resignation of the local MP for Ivanhoe. On 24 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".[7]

On 6 September 2010, Tim Pallas replies to Banyule council advising;

  • VicRoads' planning for the North East Link is at a preliminary stage and detailed planning is still some way off.
  • Once the preliminary stage is complete VicRoads will consult Banyule city council and their residents.
  • The North East link expected to involve a tunnel between Lower Plenty Road and the Eastern Freeway to protect existing suburban areas and to minimise impacts on the Banyule Flats and avoid the Heidi Museum.[6]

On 6 October 2010, a North East Link freeway public meeting was held at The Centre in Ivanhoe. On 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.

On 24 November, Labor announced costing for the proposal of planning, investigative, and environmental assessment activities for the North East Link at $15.4M, with construction originally planned to commence in 2012‐13.[8] On 27 November 2010, the Victorian state election was held, with ALP MP Anthony Carbines winning the seat of Ivanhoe with 36% of primary vote and 51% of preferred vote. This state election also saw the narrow loss of the Labor Brumby Government, making the plans for a North East Link on hold once again.[9]

Route options[edit]

The North East Link – often marketed as the ‘missing link’ in Melbourne's ring 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 in 2008.

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.[10] Two tunnel proposals have been provided citing selection based on budgetary input. A shorter tunnel from Lower Plenty Rd to Bulleen Rd exiting near the 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.

Criticism of Route 3[edit]

  • The current preferred route links the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough to EastLink via the Eastern Freeway and Mullum Mullum tunnel. Previously proposed routes connecting Greensborough to Ringwood, east of the Mullum Mullum tunnel avoid this problem.
  • The current preferred route has the Eastern freeway carrying both circumferential ring road traffic plus city bound radial traffic. During peak hours this additional traffic will effectively further reduce the capacity of the Eastern Freeway section of the ring road. Previously proposed routes connecting Greensborough to Ringwood avoid this problem.
  • The current route 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. However the group Resolve Rossana Road would dispute this as it would alleviate a long felt need in the Heidelberg area.[11]
  • 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 may impact the proposed Doncaster railway line 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.[12]
  • The project will require a trade-off between environmental and sustainability objectives, compared with increased road traffic.
  • The road will encourage even more traffic into areas already suffering from increasing congestion.
  • This road will politically be used to never build the Doncaster rail link which should be the priority.
  • The Banyule Flats, the Warringal Parklands and the Yarra Corridor (the areas to be affected by the proposed freeway, tunnel or viaduct) are one of the natural areas in the inner North East and are extensively used for recreation.[13] The Banyule City Council in 2014 tabled a proposal to have the Banyule Flats, the Warringal Parklands and the Yarra Corridor made into a Heritage listed area, but the nomination with Heritage Victoria was unsuccessful.[14]

2010–2014: Baillieu/Napthine Governments[edit]

As the Baillieu Coalition government won the 2010 state election with no firm commitment to the North East Link, on 9 March 2011 at the Metropolitan Transport Forum, Liberal MP Terry Mulder stated 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.[15] Although this was the case, on 11 May 2011, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Edward O'Donohue stated that Nortn East Link was not part of the new Government's agenda but would be considered in the broader Metropolitan Planning Review which includes all aspects of planning across Melbourne including transport.[16][17]

On 14 August 2013, Roads Minister Terry Mulder's spokeswoman Larissa Garvin states that investigations will continue under the new Napthine Coalition government 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."[18]

The Coalition led by Denis Napthine lost government at the 2014 state election with no commitment by the government or opposition to fund a North East Link proposal.

2014–present: Increased pressure and Andrews Government proposal[edit]

A report dated March 2016 into Rosanna Road in Heidelberg, that shows 38,000 motorists, comprising 2000 trucks, some being B-Doubles use the road on a daily basis, places further pressure to build the North East Link. Labor Roads Minister Luke Donnelley stated the government would not commit to North East Link.[19] Despite winning the 2014 state election with no firm commitments to the North East Link, in April 2016 Labor Tresurer Tim Pallas quoted the North East Link, declaring it "innately" makes sense.[20]

In May 2016, Infrastructure Victoria released its new consultancy options assessment report.[21] In September 2016, RACV released a Redspot survey highlighting that 6 out of 10 road chokepoints in the north east of the city support a North East Link. [22] In October 2016, Infrastructure Victoria recommended that construction on the North East Link should begin in the next 10 to 15 years. [23] In November 2016, the Liberal Federal Government released $15 million in funding for Victorian transport planning including the future of the North East Link.[24]

In December 2016, the Victorian Labor Government led by Premier Daniel Andrews commits to build the North East Link within 10 years at a cost of approximately $10 billion, including the creation of a new North East Link Authority.[25] On 18 February 2017, Victoria Roads Minister Luke Donnellan has announced the appointment of Duncan Elliott (RACV Membership and rewards General Manager) as the new chief executive of the North East Link Authority (NELA).

Route options[edit]

On 26 April 2017, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that North East Link planning would begin within the next few months, as $100 million was allocated in the 2017/18 Victorian State Budget for the project.

As part of the Andrews Government’s planning for the North East Link, the North East Link Authority announced in early-mid 2017 four potential route (corridor) options that the North East Link could take.

Route A: A western option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to Eastern Freeway at Bulleen via Watsonia and Rosanna.

Route B: A central option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to Eastlink at Ringwood via Watsonia, Lower Plenty and Donvale.

Route C: A eastern option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to EastLink at Ringwood via Eltham, Warrandyte and Donvale.

Route D: A far eastern option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to EastLink at Wantirna via Kangaroo Ground, Lilydale and the Healesville Freeway Reserve.

Preferred Route[edit]

On 24 November 2017, the Andrews Government announced that it had selected Route A as the preferred route, identical to that of the preferred route under the former Brumby Government’s Proposal. Preliminary costs and property acquisition details were also announced for the preferred route of the North East Link.

Proposed benefits[edit]

North East Link would complete Melbourne's Metropolitan 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 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, and will allow traffic to bypass central Melbourne.


Current Political Views[edit]



  • The Greens at State and Federal level.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Daniel Andrews - It's official, folks. This is the big... | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-12-10.
  2. ^ "'Missing link' in ring road to flood Eastern Freeway with traffic". The Age. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  3. ^ "Issues and Trends: Transport" (PDF). Northern Central City Corridor Study. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  4. ^ Kenneth Davidson | WestLink | VicRoads | Government Spending
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ The Age : Freeway dissenter urges referendum 2010/08/25.
  8. ^$File/ALP%20143%20North%20East%20Link%20Release.pdf
  9. ^
  10. ^$UNIDS+for+Web+Display/2F81FF76ABB4A712CA25752200239E87/$FILE/GHD_EWLNA_and_Northern_Link.pdf
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Banyule Council Banyule Council - Victorian Heritage Register. Accessed 17 December 2016. Banyule Council lodged a nomination to Heritage Victoria in June 2014, but Heritage Victoria rejected the nomination in September 2014 after completing an assessment.
  15. ^ Chasing NE Link funding a wrong turn | Friends of Banyule Blog
  16. ^ The Coalition government and the NE Link | Friends of Banyule Blog
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^, page 148
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links[edit]