The environmental impact review for Victoria’s biggest road project has reached a major milestone, with key recommendations from the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process endorsed by the Minister for Planning.
The ESS was released for public comment in April 2019. More than 2,000 pieces of community feedback helped prepare the reports, which were exhibited for 40 days, 10 more than required, to give communities time to make submissions.
More than 870 submissions were received and reviewed by an independent committee and several improvements will be adopted that will benefit the local community, traffic and businesses:
- more design guidelines for the M80 Ring Road, Lower Plenty Road, Manningham Road and Eastern freeway interchanges
- businesses in the Bulleen industrial estate will get even more support, with one-on-one case managers
- tree and shrub planting will start as soon as possible
- every effort will be made to retain the historic River Red Gum on Bridge Road, Bulleen.
A proposal to extend the North East Link tunnels an extra two kilometres north was considered. The Minister determined, based on studies so far, the significant impacts did not outweigh the benefits. Key considerations included an extra 18 months or more of construction disruptions and significant impacts for two local schools.
North East Link will connect the missing link in Melbourne's freeway network between an upgraded Eastern Freeway from Springvale Road to the M80 Ring Road, slashing travel times between Melbourne’s north and south east.
Construction is due to start in 2020, following planning approvals.