North East Link will finally fix the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network, linking the M80 Ring Road to an upgraded Eastern Freeway.

North East Link will connect the M80 Ring Road to an upgraded Eastern Freeway, slashing travel times by up to 35 minutes and taking 15,000 trucks off local roads.

It will link key growth areas in the north and south-east, providing an efficient connection for up to 135,000 vehicles each day, and allowing travel from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs to the airport without stopping at a single traffic light.

A big focus is on creating local jobs for local people, with more than 10,000 jobs on the project and 10 per cent of total work hours to be done by apprentices, trainees or cadets as part of the Government’s Local Jobs First Policy.

Early works started in 2020, with CPB Contractors are moving around 100 above and below ground services including water, power, gas and telecommunication services to make way for tunnel construction.

Spark was selected as the preferred bidder in June 2021, to deliver the tunnelling package. Spark comprises WeBuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing Investments, DIF and Pacific Partnerships.

The successful bidder will construct the twin three-lane tunnels and key interchanges. The new tunnels will protect homes and sensitive environmental areas including the Yarra River, Banyule Flats and Warringal Parklands.

The tunnelling package will be delivered as a Public Private Partnership. We’ll now work with the preferred bidder to negotiate a final contract and finalise their concept design for North East Link – ready to share details with the community before the end of the year.

Once the tunnelling package is awarded, the project will go out to market for other key elements of North East Link including a massive overhaul of the Eastern Freeway, Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, the completion of the M80 Ring Road and more than 25 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths.

Construction on the tunnelling package is expected to begin after contract award later in the year.

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Closed consultations

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​How community input is helping to shape North East Link

With more than 15,750 pieces of community feedback received so far, we’re well on our way to delivering the state's largest ever community consultation program.

  • We asked people how they travel in and through the north-east, what they value about their neighbourhoods and their views on improving transport infrastructure. You can read a report here.
  • We shared four potential road corridors and how each performed against outcomes and impacts. You can read a report here.
  • We held workshops to help shape early planning for urban design, walking and cycling, and the environment. You can read a report here.
  • We released two updates on the project design and what we were doing to prepare an Environment Effects Statement (EES). An EES is Victoria’s most robust and transparent impact assessment process. For major projects like North East Link, an EES helps inform decisions about planning approvals including what conditions should apply. You can read a report here.
  • The EES was on display for public comment for 40 business days – 10 days longer than the minimum required to give people time to read the technical reports and make submissions. More than 870 submissions were received and reviewed by an independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee. The committee also chaired a public hearing and prepared a report of recommendations to the Minister for Planning.
  • A draft Public Environment Report (PER) to inform Commonwealth approval was also on display for public comment. More than 80 submissions were received and addressed in the final PER.
  • There will be more opportunities for the community and businesses to have their say on the North East Link Project, including by commenting on urban design and landscape plans and getting involved in one of Victoria’s largest ever tree planting programs for a major infrastructure project.