North East Link Corridor

On 7 August 2017, the Victorian Government announced 4 corridor options for North East Link referred to as Corridors A, B, C and D.

Each option begins at the Ring Road in Greensborough and connects to either the Eastern Freeway or EastLink. All options involve tunnels, new roads and bridges.

On 24 November 2017, the Victorian Government announced that Corridor A had been selected as the preferred route for the North East Link.

Our position

We support the construction of North East Link and welcome the opportunities that it will bring.

Council has a long held view that North East Link should complete the Metropolitan Ring Road and provide a direct connection between Greensborough and EastLink, connecting East of the Mullum Mullum and Melba tunnels.

This position was reinforced at the ordinary meeting of Council on 16 October 2017 with support for Corridor C.

Melbourne needs an an outcome that reduces pressure on the Eastern Freeway - not adds to it.

Each corridor option will impact local communities and the environment. It is essential that the Victorian Government ensures the best corridor is chosen for the right reasons. After all, we've only got one chance to get this right.

Our position is summarised on this page with detail provided in our response to the North East Link Technical Summary.

Yes to Corridor C

Meets Melbourne's transport needs and North East Link objectives

  • Completes the Metropolitan Ring Road as a true orbital route.
  • Maximises the long term capacity of the overall road network.
  • Adds to the existing arterial road network rather than replacing existing parts of the network.
  • Directly connects to EastLink and avoids the mix of orbital and city bound traffic.
  • Avoids the long term capacity constraints of the EastLink tunnels.
  • Takes pressure off the Eastern Freeway by separating city bound and outer suburban traffic.
  • Eases traffic congestion on local roads.

Meets Melbourne's freight needs

  • Provides the most direct route for interstate freight to Melbourne’s Northern and South Eastern freight centres.
  • Directly connects with EastLink, the most attractive route for heavy vehicles.
  • The Victorian Transport Association has confirmed its preference is Corridor C.

Encourages public transport use

  • Prioritises public transport as the preferred way to travel into the city and enables improved public transport in the North East.
  • Provides extensive opportunity for much needed orbital public transport services.

Improved emergency access

  • Provides an additional firebreak/exit for local communities during bushfire events.

No to Corridor A

A northern freeway into the city

  • Does not complete the Ring Road or provide an orbital or ring road function
  • Would act as a radial, or city-bound route used by commuter traffic going into the inner suburbs and Melbourne CBD.
  • Does not provide additional arterial road capacity.

Discourages public transport use into the city

  • Encourages car travel into Melbourne CBD
  • Reduces patronage on the Hurstbridge line and negates the benefits of upgrading the line.

Divides the community

  • Limits connectivity across the Freeway corridor, cutting in half communities east and west of the route.

Impacts the Eastern Freeway

  • Adds to existing congestion by delivering even more vehicles directly onto it
  • Forces trucks to use the steep gradients in the EastLink tunnels.
  • Puts non city-bound freight traffic onto the already congested Eastern Freeway.
  • Adds more traffic to the existing heavily congested EastLink tunnels by mixing traffic that has different destinations.
  • Requires significant additional lane capacity to be built on the Eastern Freeway.
  • Adds to the existing heavily congested interchange at Bulleen Road.

Process

Incomplete and inadequate analysis

  • Melbourne needs more than just a road - a holistic review of transport solutions including public transport is required.
  • No scenario analysis has been carried out to assess the impact of traffic growth, particularly single occupancy private vehicle commuter traffic
  • No analysis on the benefits of potential rail or other public transport investment.
  • Detailed traffic modelling has not been provided.
  • Traffic volumes need to be expressed as cars (commuter) and trucks rather than total vehicles to accurately access the outcomes in relation to movement of freight.
  • There is no analysis of the impacts of tolls on the existing road network.

Insufficient data on options

  • Corridor A is described as being 11km when it is actually 26km including the additional lane capacity required on the Eastern Freeway.
  • It is unclear how Corridor A would improve access to the La Trobe Employment Cluster as claimed.

Inconsistent environmental assessment

  • The environmental impact of Corridor A, is assessed as lower than other options, despite Corridors A, B and C all having high biodiversity value. Corridors A, B and C should be scored consistently.

Does not meet stated objectives

  • Orbital connectivity – "Worsening orbital connectivity"i will continue to affect communities and limit economic opportunities. NELA concedes that Corridor A does not provide orbital connectivity.
  • Connection to jobs and education – Corridor C is estimated to provide access to 20% more jobs than Corridor A, however both Corridors receive the same performance score.

Freight movement

  • Assessments on freight benefits are based on existing truck patterns in the north-east. The focus should provide for future as well as existing freight needs.
  • "Truck surveys to better understand truck origin-destination movements and volumes throughout the north-east"i are yet to be completed. How can Corridor A be assessed as meeting the objective to improve freight efficiency when the origin-destination survey is incomplete?
  • NELA claims the grades for Corridor A "[are] most suited to trucks"i, however, it ignores the existing steep grades in the EastLink tunnels.

i North East Link Authority (NELA) technical summary

Corridor B & D

Corridor B

Corridor B is dependent on the EastLink tunnels where as Corridor C avoids these tunnels that have existing grade issues.

Corridor B is less efficient than Corridor C in providing an orbital solution and in terms of access to jobs, Corridor B is inferior to Corridor C.

Also we have concern about the impact of the proposed Lower Plenty Road/Main Road interchange on the Plenty River and residential and local recreational facilities.

Corridor D

We do not consider Corridor D is viable due to its length (40km) and extensive impact on the Urban Growth Boundary.


What you said

Banyule-wide survey

Towards the end of September through October, we surveyed more than 40,000 households in Banyule to select a preferred North East Link corridor either online or by reply-paid postcard.

The purpose behind the survey was to discover corridor preferences for North East Link and use it as part of our efforts to get the best outcome.

Results

Over 8,500 responses were received with the majority of responses received via reply-paid postcard.

North East Link corridor paths with corresponding results of the Banyule-wide survey

By order of preference:

  • Corridor C (39%)
  • Corridor A (32%)
  • Corridor B (21%)
  • Corridor D (8%)

A small proportion of respondents did not select an option as they instead expressed a preference for investment in public transport.

Public forums

Between May and September we hosted 2 forums in Ivanhoe and live streamed via Facebook focusing on North East Link.

The first being the North East Link Transport Forum on 30 May 2017 2017.

More recently the North East Link Corridor Options Forum on 6 September 2017.

At the forum on 6 September an opportunity was provided to attendees to express their position on the corridor options. The majority of attendees who expressed their view, provided a resounding objection of both Corridor A and Corridor B, with a majority of people citing a preference for Corridor C.



History

Council has long recognised the need for and advocated for the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road as a direct orbital link from the Greensborough Bypass through to Ringwood. It is a key priority in the Banyule Integrated Transport Plan.

Banyule’s arterial road network, including Rosanna Road and Greensborough Highway is used as a link for freight and commuter traffic between the northern and western suburbs and the south eastern suburbs. Rosanna Road and Greensborough Highway experience high levels of congestion, impacting on road safety and amenity of surrounding residents.

In December 2016, the Victorian Government committed $35 million to put together the business case for the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road, including route selection, planning approval and tendering. The Victorian Government has established the North East Link Authority to oversee the project.

In July 2016, Council sought expressions of interest from residents and community members to join a community focus group to guide Council in the development of a North East Link Project Action Plan.

The North East Link Community Focus Group was formed, comprising ten community members and Councillors to:

  • Provide information on issues around safety and amenity of Rosanna Road and Greensborough Highway from Banksia Street through to the Metropolitan Ring Road.
  • Provide ideas and thoughts on how best to advocate for an orbital north east link between Greensborough and Eastlink.
  • Respond to and provide advice on the draft Action Plan.

The community focus group met on two occasions – 7 September and 29 November 2016, working together to develop the action plan.

The North East Link Project Action Plan (NELPAP) outlines Council’s commitment to work with the community to advocate for the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road and to determine the Future of Rosanna Road.

The North East Link Project Action Plan has four main goals with a number of actions detailed to achieve that goal. The four goals are to:

GOAL 1: Jointly advocate for the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road.

GOAL 2: Facilitate and encourage discussion on potential alignments for the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road.

GOAL 3: Determine the Future of Rosanna Road.

GOAL 4: Promote the Action Plan.