1 February 2018

Options: chapter 5

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Summary of document

As described in Chapter 4, a connected freeway was assessed as being the strategic option that best addresses the cross-city orbital connectivity and capacity problems identified in Chapter 2. This option provides for the construction of a freeway-standard road (known as North East Link) linking the M80 to the Eastern Freeway and incorporating connections to the wider arterial road network.

To determine the preferred corridor for the connected freeway, four broad options (A, B, C and D) were identified and considered. These corridor options were then evaluated against the North East Link’s Project Objectives and Guiding Principles.

The options assessment process has been guided by the Australian Transport Assessment and Planning (ATAP) Guidelines. A three-tiered approach was adopted to narrow down a long list of possible corridor options to a preferred option:

  • Stage 1: Strategic Merit Test (SMT) – an assessment of a corridor’s alignment with the North East Link Project Objectives
  • Stage 2: Rapid appraisal – an initial indicative assessment of the scale of a corridor’s benefits and costs as assessed against the Project Objectives and Guiding Principles
  • Stage 3: Detailed appraisal – a more detailed assessment of a corridor’s benefits and costs as assessed against Project Objectives and Guiding Principles.

The Strategic Merit Test and rapid appraisal set aside corridor options D and B as they performed poorly against the Project Objectives and Guiding Principles compared to the other corridors.

The detailed appraisal found that corridor option A – from the Eastern Freeway at Nunawading to the M80 at Greensborough– performs significantly more effectively in relation to the Project Objectives and Guiding Principles than corridor option C. Corridor option A provides more benefits to the transport network, removes more vehicles off local roads and has a lower whole of life cost. In summary, corridor option A:

  • Provides the best opportunity to make connections to the existing road network that respond to travel demand through, in and out of the north east of Melbourne, meaning that corridor option A attracts the most through traffic to the new link of all the options considered.
  • Provides better connectivity for all freight journeys and serves a greater number of freight catchments for trucks travelling across the city’s north, north east, east and south east, meaning that this option offers the best opportunity of all the options considered to remove trucks from local roads in the north east.
  • Works together effectively with the road network in the north east, having the greatest ability of all the options to reduce traffic on existing arterial roads and provide opportunities to improve conditions for more local journeys and on-road public transport.
  • Provides better access for businesses and households in the north, north east, east and south east to workers, jobs and services (because it connects close to areas of greater economic and employment activity). Corridor option A also provides the greatest improvement in business access to labour markets of all the corridor options considered.
  • Provides the opportunity to deliver an integrated Doncaster Busway solution along the Eastern Freeway, as well as addressing existing capacity and connectivity issues on the freeway.
  • Provides the best opportunity to upgrade, connect and expand walking and cycling infrastructure in the north east.

Overall, corridor option A offers the most cost-effective solution and the maximum benefits. Based on the assessment, corridor option A was selected to proceed to business case assessment and the planning and environmental approvals process.