Fact sheet April 2019

An Environment Effects Statement (EES) has been released for the North East Link project and is now open for public submissions. The EES includes information on how the project could affect the environment during construction and operation, and how adverse impacts would be managed.

Traffic and Transport is one of 18 study areas in the EES. See the EES summary report for an overview of traffic and transport impacts and benefits or for more details read Chapter 9 - Traffic and transport and Technical report A - Traffic and transport.

North East Link will be a new connection for up to 135,000 vehicles a day, reducing travel times through the north-east drawing trucks away from the arterial road network and reducing ‘rat-runs’.

Moving traffic off local roads

Once North East Link is open, traffic would move away from arterial and local roads and onto the freeway network, reducing volumes and congestion on local roads.

While we expect large decreases in traffic volumes along key arterial roads and the Yarra River crossings, we also predict increases along the Greensborough Bypass (east of the M80 Ring Road), Watsonia Road and some arterial roads south of the Eastern Freeway.

These increases would occur mostly outside of the peak periods, with no material increase in congestion or delays anticipated in the peak periods. The increase in traffic travelling on the freeway network would be accommodated by additional traffic lanes and ramp metering on the M80 Ring Road and Eastern Freeway.

No net increase in traffic is anticipated for roads in Melbourne’s CBD.

What’s an EPR?

North East Link would be delivered in accordance with a set of Environmental Performance Requirements – or EPRs. These set out the minimum environmental objectives and outcomes the project must achieve across its design, construction and operation phases – irrespective of the final design selected for the project.

The EPRs include requirements to:

  • comply with regulations and guidelines set by government and statutory authorities
  • achieve specific levels or limits
  • meet recognized standards
  • adopt industry best-practice or well-tested approaches and methods.

A full list of the EPRs proposed for North East Link is provided in Chapter 27 Environmental Management Framework in the EES.

North East Link is expected to deliver significant transport benefits

Traffic reductions in 2036 (compared with no project being built)

  • Rosanna Road: up to 12,000 less vehicles per day
  • Greensborough Road: up to 19,000 less vehicles per day
  • Plenty Road: up to 10,000 less vehicles per day
  • Manningham Road: up to 13,300 less vehicles per day
  • Fitzsimons Lane: up to 17,000 less vehicles per day
  • Burke Road: up to 8000 less vehicles per day
  • Chandler Highway: up to 6000 less vehicles per day
  • Warrandyte Bridge: up to 6000 less vehicles per day

Large decreases in the number of trucks using arterial roads in the north-east each day

  • Greensborough Road: up to 7400 less trucks per day
  • Bulleen Road: up to 2400 less trucks per day
  • Manningham Road: up to 3000 less trucks per day
  • Rosanna Road: up to 2800 less trucks per day – up to 75 per cent less than the 2036 ‘no project’ scenario

Faster bus services with up to 30% faster travel times along the Eastern Freeway with a dedicated busway

  • Travel times and speeds are also expected to improve for other bus and tram services in the northeast. Faster and more reliable travel times for freight.
  • Enabling significant cost savings for businesses and industries moving goods along cross-city routes and to and from major industrial precincts and Melbourne Airport.

Around 25km of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths

  • Delivering improved accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists across the north-east.

Faster travel times across the north-east

  • Save up to 35 minutes between the M80 Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway.
  • Save up to 10 to 17 minutes travel time along the Greensborough Road/Rosanna Road/Bulleen Road corridor.

Placarded loads

Placarded loads and over-height vehicles make up less than two per cent of the trucks travelling in the north east and would still use Rosanna Road and Bulleen Road to make trips (this is a small amount of overall truck traffic).

The north east is not a major route for placarded loads – there are no petrol refineries in the area. All fuel deliveries are going to local petrol stations.

Traffic and transport during construction

Construction activities will need to be managed carefully to minimise traffic and transport disruptions, as has been done successfully for recent major transport projects in Melbourne.

There will be strict rules in place for builders during construction, so that people can still get to where they need to go safely and on time.

The builders would be required to:

  • prepare Transport Management Plans to manage and minimise disruptions in consultation with relevant road authorities, including requirements to maintain transport capacity in peak periods
  • monitor conditions during construction to assess the effectiveness of the Transport Management Plans
  • provide real time traffic information to drivers
  • actively contribute to a Transport Management Liaison Group to be established by NELP with representatives from the State, VicRoads, emergency services, the project, relevant transportation authorities and local councils that meets to discuss Transport Management Plans including timing, traffic monitoring and proposed haulage routes.

During construction, we expect additional traffic from workers accessing construction sites and trucks delivering materials and equipment and transporting spoil. The highest number of trips during the project’s construction period is estimated to peak at between 3500 and 3700 per day. This would be spread across the whole construction area.

Spoil would be transported along designated haulage routes that give trucks efficient access to the freeway and arterial road network, minimising the impact on local traffic and local roads wherever possible. The Transport Management Liaison Group would review proposed haulage routes to minimise reliance on a single route.

Road diversions

The project team will need to have traffic management measures in place, including:

  • reduced speed limits within construction areas to improve safety for workers
  • signs that give advance notice of works
  • requiring lanes to be open in peak periods.

Road closures

While some short-term road closures may be needed for work to take place, the project team will work closely with residents to make sure they can maintain access to homes.

Construction would be scheduled in stages so where possible multiple roads are not closed at the same time and transport capacity is maintained during peak periods.

Longer term lane closures are anticipated at several locations, including the Greensborough Bypass between Grimshaw Street and Watsonia Road, Grimshaw Street, Manningham Road, Bridge Street and Doncaster Road. Detours, diversions and other measures would be implemented through the Transport Management Plans to reduce impacts at these locations.

Hurstbridge rail line

The Hurstbridge rail line would need to be closed for works on the rail tunnel under Greensborough Road near Grimshaw Street. The roof of the tunnel would need to be made longer and stronger so both North East Link and Greensborough Road could sit on top. There may also need to be some works to upgrade signals on the line.

We expect the works could mostly happen on weekends and at night to minimise disruptions, but the EES has suggested a longer closure may be needed. We may need to arrange replacement buses for around 8 weeks for people using the Hurstbridge rail line.

We work closely with other major transport projects, including the Level Crossing Removal Project, and meet regularly for project updates and to discuss opportunities to work together with the Hurstbridge duplication stage two.

Tolling

As with any new road, tolls need to be priced so that people are not be deterred by the cost. Tolls for North East Link are still to be determined, however they are expected to be comparable to other toll roads in Melbourne like EastLink and CityLink.

No tolls on Eastern Freeway

The Victorian Government has confirmed there will be no new tolls on existing roads, including the Eastern Freeway. This includes no tolls on any new or express lanes on the Eastern Freeway.

Read the EES

This fact sheet is based on the Traffic and Transport chapter and technical report in the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for North East Link.

An EES is the state’s most rigorous impact assessment process. It gives decision makers such as the Planning Minister and EPA Victoria the information they need to determine whether approvals should be granted and what conditions should apply.

The EES for North East Link includes information on how the project could affect the environment during construction and operation and how adverse impacts would be managed.

Looking after cyclists and pedestrians during construction

The majority of pedestrian and cycling paths would remain open during construction. The EES found we would need to temporarily close or divert cyclists and pedestrians who use bridges and sections of the shared use paths along the Eastern Freeway. We also expect some short-term closures for pedestrian bridges along the M80 Ring Road, in Watsonia and along the Eastern Freeway.

Any construction that impacts cycling routes would be well communicated in advance, with detours in place that are clearly signposted. We also have some great contacts in each of the Bicycle User Groups and Bicycle Network Victoria who will help us to speak with cyclists throughout the life of the project.