North East Link has gone out to market and is seeking interest from builders to deliver the project.
The project will connect Melbourne's freeway network between an upgraded Eastern Freeway from Springvale Road to the M80 Ring Road.
It will be a safe and efficient freeway connection for 100,000 vehicles a day, reducing travel times, getting trucks off local roads and linking key growth areas in the north and south-east.
The $15.8 billion project will include Victoria’s longest twin tunnel, freeway upgrades and a dedicated busway.
Builders are invited to apply to deliver the $200 million early works package, expected to start construction in 2020 after environmental and planning approvals are in place.
We are also calling for builders for the $7-9 billion primary package that involves construction of the tunnels. This procurement process will take more than 18 months to complete.
Your questions answered
How can you release the project to market when communities haven’t seen the full design and you don’t have planning approvals?
The first step in the tender process is asking builders to let us know if they are interested in submitting a bid to build North East Link. Expressions of interest help us create a shortlist of potential bidders we can invite to submit detailed tenders as planning and environment requirements become clear. It means we can be sure we only invite the best bidders to move ahead to the next stage. It also gives us, and the preferred bidders, more time to understand how we can best work together through the next steps in the tender process.
Does this mean you don’t need to do an EES anymore?
The project still needs planning approvals. The Environment Effects Statement (EES) still needs to go on exhibition for public comment and submissions to an independent panel. This is scheduled to happen mid 2019.
Does this mean construction for North East Link will start earlier?
Construction for North East Link is still expected to start in 2020 after the EES process is complete and planning approvals have been received.