28 October 2021

North East Link Program update

North East Link will reduce travel times, take trucks off local roads and give local streets back to local residents.

North East Link Tunnels

In response to community feedback we’re building longer tunnels and simpler underground interchanges with more room for parklands, wetlands and a tree-lined Greensborough Road boulevard.

Ring Road Completion

A massive upgrade to the M80 Ring Road will improve traffic flow with new lanes and up-to-date technology. 2 new green bridges in Watsonia will connect locals to brand new train station parking.

Eastern Freeway Upgrades

A major overhaul will modernise the Eastern Freeway. Express lanes will reduce travel times and a new green bridge in Bulleen will connect Koonung Creek Trail to Yarra River parklands.

Eastern Express Busway

Melbourne’s first dedicated busway will make it quicker and easier to get to and from the city with a brand new park and ride in Bulleen, an upgraded park and ride in Doncaster and a bus every minute in the peak.

North East Trail

We’ve added an extra 9 kilometres to create 34km of walking and cycling paths linking our city’s north east to Yarra River trails and parklands.

3 new parklands and wetlands

A new cultural precinct along the banks of Birrarung (Yarra River) in Bulleen, new Koonung Creek wetlands in Balwyn North and a new community park along Banyule Creek in Yallambie – all linked to the new North East Trail.

Bringing our road, bus and bike network together

We’ve developed a design that delivers even better outcomes for local people and the environment.

North East Link Tunnels

The North East Link tunnels will take 15,000 trucks off local roads every day and reduce travel times by up to 35 minutes.

A longer 6.5km tunnel to Watsonia and simpler interchanges create more space for a tree-lined Greensborough Road boulevard and new, revived and reconnected parklands in Yallambie and Bulleen.

Greensborough Road boulevard

Greensborough Road will be rebuilt as a tree-lined boulevard with 700 new trees and wide, shaded walking and cycling paths. A smaller, quieter service road on the west side will provide access to homes and extra distance between residents and the main boulevard.

Lower Plenty Road interchange and Borlase Reserve parklands

A simpler interchange creates more space for 5 MCGs of community parklands at Borlase Reserve with adventure and nature playgrounds, fitness areas, walking trails and revitalised Banyule Creek wetlands. A new River Gum Walk bridge across Lower Plenty Road will connect the parklands to Banyule Flats and Yarra River trails.

Manningham Road interchange and cultural precinct

New wetlands along the banks of Birrarung (the Yarra River) will re-establish a significant cultural landscape to the Wurundjeri people, creating a new cultural precinct for Melbourne and link Heide Museum of Modern Art with Yarra River parklands.

Ring Road Completion

We’ll upgrade the Ring Road with new lanes, smart technology and a seamless interchange with North East Link.

From Greensborough to Watsonia, North East Link will pass under Grimshaw Street and green bridges at Elder Street and Watsonia Road – keeping local roads for local trips.

Ring Road interchange

A smarter lane layout has created more space for 2.3ha of trees and plants and 3.3ha of wetlands. We’ve also moved the Macorna Street bridge further away from homes and will build a wide, well-lit Yando Street underpass for more direct trips by bike and on foot.

Grimshaw Street interchange

We’ve combined some of the north-bound lanes for an interchange that’s easier to use and further away from homes.

Watsonia station and shops

2 green bridges at Elder Street and Watsonia Road will connect to new multi-level station parking and new community spaces.

Eastern Freeway Upgrades

We’re adding more than 45km of new lanes where they’re needed most and the latest technology, reducing travel times by up to 11 minutes.

Eastern Freeway interchange and Yarra Link green bridge

A 2ha green bridge will link Koonung Creek Trail to Bulleen Park and Yarra River parklands, connecting schools, playing fields and sports clubs. Pocket parks, landscaping and seating on top will offer views to the Yarra River and new Koonung Creek wetlands and community park below.

Express lanes

For smoother trips between Middleborough Road and Chandler Highway, reducing merging and weaving that causes congestion today.

New and upgraded noise walls

Designed to meet Victoria’s toughest 63 decibel noise standard, plus lower 58 decibel protection at night. Guaranteed for 20 years.

Eastern Express Busway

Melbourne’s first dedicated busway will make it quicker and easier to get to and from the city – reducing travel times for more than 6 million express bus trips a year.

Rapid bus lanes

Separated from the freeway from Doncaster to Hoddle Street, with buses travelling up to 100km/h.

2 park and rides

Work to build a brand new Park & Ride in Bulleen has already started and we'll upgrade Doncaster Park & Ride – doubling the number of commuter parking spaces for express bus services to the city.

North East Trail

More than 34km of walking and cycling paths and 40 bridges and crossings will link our city’s north and east to Yarra River trails and parklands, making it faster and easier to ride to the city and move about local suburbs by bike or on foot.

Greensborough Road Path

An entirely off-road path with five new bridges from Greensborough to Rosanna linking the Ring Road Trail to Watsonia Station and shops and Yarra River parklands.

Yarra Links

Better, safer connections to the Main Yarra Trail, parklands, schools, sports clubs and grounds in Bulleen, Heide Museum of Modern Art and the new cultural precinct wetlands.

Koonung and City Links

A new 4km bicycle superhighway stretching across the Yarra River from Burke Road to Merri Creek Trail and the inner city cycle network, connections to rapid bus services on the new Eastern Express busway, and every bridge upgraded from Springvale Road to Bulleen Road.

Building Victoria’s longest tunnels

As well as extending the North East Link tunnels further north, an extra 1.9km of the overall tunnel length will now be built using tunnel boring machines (TBMs) – keeping more work below ground and less disruption above.

TBMs are very effective at reducing vibration and strict requirements are in place to manage this for North East Link. People and places directly above or very close to tunnelling excavation could experience minor levels of vibration as the TBMs pass underneath. This will be monitored closely and is very unlikely to damage properties. We'll also survey buildings before works start to understand their condition and help manage work underground.

Launching and retrieving the TBMs

While most of the construction work will be done below ground, there will be impacts at the surface where the TBMs are launched at the start of the tunnel in Watsonia and retrieved south of Manningham Road in Bulleen.

Building the interchanges

The underground interchanges at Lower Plenty Road and Manningham Road will be built using a method called cut and cover. A deep area will be excavated to build the tunnel and connecting ramps, then covered when finished. We’ll also use cut and cover to build the end of the tunnel in Bulleen where the tunnel design isn’t suitable for a TBM or smaller mining equipment.

Keeping you up to date

Now we have an overall design for the tunnels, and know how each section will be built, we’re getting more detailed construction planning underway and working to finalise the route between Lower Plenty Road and Manningham Road. We’ll keep people updated as construction planning continues.


Next steps

Community consultation

More than 15,700 pieces of community feedback since 2017, including over 870 submissions on the Environment Effects Statement, have helped lock in the longer tunnel length, interchange designs, where to build new walking and cycling paths and bridges and where to deliver better outcomes for local people and the environment.

Before we get construction underway, we’ll be asking local people what they think about the look and feel of the design for their local area, including new and returned parklands, playgrounds, wetlands, walking and cycling bridges and noise walls.

Urban design and landscape plans will be prepared so people can see designs in much more detail and make a written submission.

The urban design and landscape plan for the North East Link Tunnels and North East Trail from Watsonia to Bulleen will be on exhibition in early 2022. Plans for the other elements of North East Link will follow as builders for these come on board.

Getting builders on board

To deliver this massive program of work, we’ll progressively appoint teams of builders for each big element. They’ll take on the next stage of detailed design and get construction underway.

The North East Link Tunnels will take the longest to build, so we’re starting with these first.

The other elements of North East Link will start being taken out to market from 2022, with the timing for detailed design and construction carefully staged so the whole project can open around the same time in 2028, bringing all the pieces of North East Link together.

What do you want to talk to us about next?

While we’re getting designs ready for exhibition, you can help us prepare. Let us know what you’re most interested to know more about and how you want us to stay in touch at Engage Victoria.

This information is current at the time of publication, however changes may occur. Please visit our website for the latest updates.