The first stage of Victoria’s biggest ever infrastructure project – Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East – is a significant step closer following Ministerial endorsement of key recommendations made by an independent planning panel.
SRL’s Environment Effects Statement (EES) planning process, which received more than 360 submissions and saw an independent panel hear from 47 witnesses over 39 days of public hearings, has resulted in enhanced measures and outcomes that will benefit the community during construction and operation.
The Minister for Environment and Climate Change (as Minister jointly administering the Environment Effects Act) has endorsed the recommendations of the Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC), clearing the way for SRL East’s necessary planning approvals.
SRL East will deliver 26km of twin tunnels and 6 new underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill, with trains running by 2035 and an end-to-end trip taking just 22 minutes.
The Minister found most operational impacts have been removed by putting the line underground, and that the environmental effects of SRL East have been identified and carefully considered through the EES – the state’s most rigorous planning approvals process.
More than 850 geotechnical investigations, 10,000 lab tests, hundreds of expert studies, extensive stakeholder consultation and feedback from more than 20,000 people informed the design development of SRL East and the EES.
The process has delivered even better construction and operational outcomes for the local community and stakeholders.
The Minister has endorsed key updates to the project that will further minimise impacts to local residents during construction and provide more long-term benefits to local communities, including:
- Replacement of open space required for the project, including new parkland to offset the land required for the SRL stabling facility at Heatherton
- Tougher requirements to limit construction noise and traffic impacts
- Additional bicycle connections and footpaths to encourage walking and cycling, including connections to the Ringwood Cycling Corridor in Box Hill, and upgrading Gardiners Creek Trail
- More support for businesses affected by construction, including dedicated business liaison managers, and regular surveys.
Construction of SRL East started with a separate planning approval in June with initial works in Clayton – creating the first of up to 8000 jobs.