North East Link is 5 major projects in one.

To deliver this massive program of work, we will progressively appoint teams of builders for each big element. The North East Link Tunnels will take the longest to build, so we’re starting with these first.

The contract to deliver the North East Link Tunnels was awarded to Spark consortium in late 2021. Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been ordered from German supplier Herrenknecht, ready to start tunnelling in 2024. It will take around 18 months for the design, manufacture, testing and transport of the TBMs, which will arrive in Melbourne via ship.

Preparatory works and investigations for the tunnels started in early 2022. Work is in full swing as we prepare for major construction of the North East Link Tunnels including setting up construction compounds and work sites from Watsonia to Bulleen to get ready for tunnelling to start in 2024.

In October 2022, two world-class consortia were selected as the preferred bidders for the next big elements of the project – the overhaul of the Eastern Freeway and the completion of the M80 Ring Road. We’ll work with both bidders ahead of contracts being awarded by mid 2023, and we will go out to market to seek Expressions of Interest to overhaul other sections of the Eastern Freeway – with the program delivering upgrades from Hoddle Street to Springvale Road.

We’re also going out to market for other elements of North East Link, including the Eastern Express Busway and surrounding sections of the North East Trail

Construction timelines

  • Early works for North East Link started in 2020.
  • Major construction on the North East Link Tunnels starts in late 2022.
  • Two preferred bidders selected for the overhaul of the Eastern Freeway and the completion of the M80 Ring Road.
  • The project goes to market in 2022 for other key elements to be constructed as part of North East Link.
  • Builders for the Eastern Freeway Upgrades and Eastern Express Busway will be brought on board progressively from 2023, with construction expected to start from 2024.
  • North East Link opens in 2028.