North East Link

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North East Link
General information
Type Freeway  (Proposed)
Route number(s)
  • M80
  • Presumptive Future Route Number
Major junctions
North end
South end
Highway system

The North East Link is a proposed tollway planned to run through Melbourne's north eastern suburbs. It was first proposed in the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan (as part of the F7 and/or F18 corridors), and is designed to provide a freeway connection between the Metropolitan Ring Road in Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Flats or the EastLink junction in Ringwood. It was included in the Brumby government's 2008 Victorian Transport Plan, with an estimated cost of over A$6 billion. On December 11, 2016, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that a re-elected Labor government would build the North East Link at a cost of $10 billion and construction would commence in 2019.[1]

The North East Link freeway would be presumably designated as Route Number M80 (as per the existing Metropolitan Ring Road).

2008-2010 Proposal


The North East Link – often marketed as the ‘missing link’ in Melbourne's ring road network – will provide an additional major Yarra River crossing for Melbourne.

Three proposed routes for the North East Link were identified by consultation report prepared by GHD Consulting for the Department of Premier and Cabinet in 2008.

Route 1: An eastern option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to EastLink via Kangaroo Ground and Chirnside Park.

Route 2: A central option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to EastLink via Eltham and Warrandyte.

Route 3: A western option from the Metropolitan Ring Rd to Eastern Freeway at Bulleen via Watsonia.

Controversially Route 3 was selected as the preferred route. The link proposes a combination of above-ground roadway and tunnel between Lower Plenty Road and the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Road which will traverse the Banyule Flats and Yarra River.[2] Two tunnel proposals have been provided citing selection based on budgetary input. A shorter tunnel from Lower Plenty Rd to Bulleen Rd exiting near the Heide museum and a longer tunnel from Lower Plenty Rd through to the Eastern Freeway. However the final details of the route are yet to be completed and further detailed engineering investigations and community consultation will be undertaken before finalising a route alignment and design for the road connection.

This project was submitted to the federal Government of Australia for funding consideration.

Criticism of Route 3

  • The current preferred route links the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough to EastLink via the Eastern Freeway and Mullum Mullum tunnel. Previously proposed routes connecting Greensborough to Ringwood, east of the Mullum Mullum tunnel avoid this problem.
  • The current preferred route has the Eastern freeway carrying both circumferential ring road traffic plus city bound radial traffic. During peak hours this additional traffic will effectively further reduce the capacity of the Eastern Freeway section of the ring road. Previously proposed routes connecting Greensborough to Ringwood avoid this problem.
  • The current route may physically divide the local community and result in local residents having difficulty in accessing public services and amenities such as schools, shops and transport. However the group Resolve Rossana Road would dispute this as it would alleviate a long felt need in the Heidelberg area.[3]
  • The interchange at Bulleen Road may be a complex tunnel/fly-over arrangement requiring land acquisitions from the adjacent Freeway Golf Course and tennis centre significantly diminishing the local amenity.
  • The proposed route may impact the proposed Doncaster railway line, Melbourne along the Eastern Freeway.
  • The route options assessment listed in the "North East Link Infrastructure Australia Proposal to Commonwealth of Australia" (obtained via Freedom of Information) contains no quantitative data supporting the economical costings when comparing routes.[4]
  • The project will require a trade-off between environmental and sustainability objectives, compared with increased road traffic.
  • The Banyule Flats, the Warringal Parklands and the Yarra Corridor (the areas to be affected by the proposed freeway, tunnel or viaduct) are one of the natural areas in the inner North East and are extensively used for recreation.[5] The Banyule City Council in 2014 tabled a proposal to have the Banyule Flats, the Warringal Parklands and the Yarra Corridor made into a Heritage listed area, but the nomination with Heritage Victoria was unsuccessful.[6]

Current Proposal (2016-present)

Proposed benefits

North East Link would complete Melbourne's Metropolitan Ring Road project and is estimated to carry around 100,000 vehicles a day, providing non-stop movement and easier access for freight operators, particularly between the growing industrial areas around Dandenong, Campbellfield and the new freight-hub near Donnybrook.

With Melbourne's north expected to be home to around one million people in 2026, it is posited that the North East Link will reduce reliance on Fitzsimons Lane, Heidelberg Road and Rosanna Road, and enhance road access to Melbourne Airport as well as popular regional and interstate destinations.


History of Political Views

  • In 2002, prior to the state election, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor and local ALP state member Craig Langdon promised to Banyule Town Hall that the North East Link would not be built.[7]
  • The proposed freeway was a major factor in the resignation of the local MP for Ivanhoe. On 25 August 2010, Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon resigned from state politics stating: "My resignation also enables me to maintain a long-held commitment to the electorate, which was to resign from the government if I believed it was likely to build a freeway through Viewbank, Heidelberg and the Banyule Flats. Unfortunately, it appears that this could now be the case".[8]
  • In April 2016 Labor Tresurer Tim Pallas is quoted as declaring it "innately" makes sense.[9]
  • A report dated March 2016 into Rosanna Road in Heidelberg, that shows 38,000 motorists, comprising 2000 trucks, some being B-Doubles use the road on a daily basis, places further pressure to build the North East Link. Labor Roads Minister Luke Donnelley would not commit to North East Link.[10]

Current Political Views



  • The Greens at State and Federal level.


Date Event
1969 The Bolte Government unveils the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan which outlines multiple freeway corridors in Melbourne to be built including the F7 and F18 corridors which would form the route of the North East Link today.
1973 Some freeway plans are pruned, especially those proposed for the inner city (including most/nearly all of the F7 and F18 corridors).[11]
1976 Henry Bolte's successor Rupert Hamer cancells all the road reservations for the unbuilt urban freeways in 1976, making the remaining road corridors across Melbourne disconnected.
2002 Minister for Transport Labor MP Peter Bachelor and Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon promise local community at Heidelberg town hall that the North East Freeway would not be built.
2007 Eddington Report Released, suggesting the development of a North East Link.
September 2008 GHD release North East link Assessment Proposal.
8 December 2008 Then Minister for Roads and Ports, Labor MP Tim Pallas, under the Brumby Government, announces plans for North East link.[12]
10 August 2010 Banyule Council contacts Tim Pallas, expressing its disappointment in what appears to be a lack of transparency in the planning process for the North East Link and requests:
  • Briefing of all options for the North-East Link and any costings and cost benefit analysis.
  • VicRoads to advise of any new proposals that may be developed for the construction of this link.
  • Confirmation if a surface link has been considered and any costings for that link.
  • Confirmation as to whether a surface link is in VicRoads view still a valid option.
  • VicRoads to undertake full public consultation.[13]
24 August 2010 Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon resigns, urging referendum on Transport Plan.
6 September 2010 Tim Pallas replies to Banyule council advising;
  • VicRoads' planning for the North East Link is at a preliminary stage and detailed planning is still some way off.
  • Once the preliminary stage is complete VicRoads will consult Banyule city council and their residents.
  • The North East link expected to involve a tunnel between Lower Plenty Road and the Eastern Freeway to protect existing suburban areas and to minimise impacts on the Banyule Flats and avoid the Heidi Museum.[13]
6 October 2010 North East Link freeway public meeting held at The Centre in Ivanhoe.
23 November 2010 Ex-Labor MP Craig Langdon letter boxes thousands of residents of Rosanna, Heidelberg and Ivanhoe with flyer titled "No freeway through Banyule" criticising Anthony Carbines who was preselected as his successor.
24 November 2010 Labor announce costing for the proposal of planning, investigative, and environmental assessment activities for the North East Link at $15.4M. Scheduled to commence in 2012‐13.[14]
27 November 2010 ALP MP Anthony Carbines wins seat of Ivanhoe with 36% of primary vote and 51% of preferred vote.[15] The Baillieu Coalition government wins state election with no firm commitment to the North East Link.[16]
9 March 2011 At the Metropolitan Transport Forum Liberal MP Terry Mulder states that the new Victorian government would continue to pursue funding for the NE link despite not receiving any funding from the federal government's advisory body Infrastructure Australia.[17]
11 May 2011 Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Edward O'Donohue states that NE Link is not part of the new Government's agenda but will be considered in the broader Metropolitan Planning Review which includes all aspects of planning across Melbourne including transport.[18]
14 August 2013 Roads Minister Terry Mulder's spokeswoman, Larissa Garvin, states that investigation will continue and that "tunneling will be required to protect existing urban areas and to minimise environmental impact on the Banyule Flats and Yarra River, with further planning work still needed."[19]
May 2016 Infrastructure Victoria release new consultancy options assessment report.[20]
September 2016 RACV release a Redspot survey highlighting that 6 out of 10 road chokepoints in the north east of the city supports NE Link [21]
October 2016 Infrastructure Victoria recommends building the North East Link in the next 10 to 15 years[22]
November 2016 Liberal Federal Government releases $15 million in funding for Victorian transport planning including the future of the North East Link.[23]
December 2016 Victorian Labor Government commits to build the North East Link within 10 years at a cost of $10 billion[24]
18 February 2017 Victoria Roads Minister Luke Donnellan has announced the appointment of Duncan Elliott (RACV Membership and rewards General Manager) as the new chief executive of the North East Link Authority (NELA).
26 April 2017 Premier Daniel Andrews announces that North East Link planning will begin within the next few months, as $100 Million is allocated in the upcoming Victorian State Budget for the project.

See also


  1. ^ "Daniel Andrews - It's official, folks. This is the big... | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-12-10. 
  2. ^$UNIDS+for+Web+Display/2F81FF76ABB4A712CA25752200239E87/$FILE/GHD_EWLNA_and_Northern_Link.pdf
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Banyule Council Banyule Council - Victorian Heritage Register. Accessed 17 December 2016. Banyule Council lodged a nomination to Heritage Victoria in June 2014, but Heritage Victoria rejected the nomination in September 2014 after completing an assessment.
  7. ^ Kenneth Davidson | WestLink | VicRoads | Government Spending
  8. ^ The Age : Freeway dissenter urges referendum 2010/08/25.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Issues and Trends: Transport" (PDF). Northern Central City Corridor Study. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^$File/ALP%20143%20North%20East%20Link%20Release.pdf
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Chasing NE Link funding a wrong turn | Friends of Banyule Blog
  18. ^ The Coalition government and the NE Link | Friends of Banyule Blog
  19. ^
  20. ^, page 148
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^

External links

  • Initial Infrastructure assessment report May 2016
  • GHD Consulting Report presented to Department of Premier and Cabinet : North-East Link Assessment Proposal
  • VicRoads: North East Link
  • Friends of Banyule : Opposition to North East Link Freeway
  • Friends of Banyule : Friends of Banyule Blog
  • North East Link Infrastructure Australia Proposal to Commonwealth of Australia
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