Put a Lid on It!

Check out our latest advocacy campaign to put green bridges over the North East Link in Watsonia

The project

The North East Link Project (NELP) has been appointed by the Victorian Government to deliver the North East Link, Victoria's biggest transport infrastructure project. The North East Link will run from the M80 through Banyule, join the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen, meet the EastLink at Ringwood, and bring dramatic changes to Banyule. Latest plans can be viewed online.

Background

Banyule Council has long recognised the need for the Metropolitan Ring Road to be completed so it can provide a direct link from the Greensborough bypass to Ringwood and ease increasing congestion on Banyule roads.

In 2017, four potential North East Link (NEL) routes were released and after surveying more than 40,000 Banyule households, we advocated for Corridor Option C as our preferred option. Some months later, the Victorian Government announced Corridor Option A as its preferred route.

Since 2017, we have been advocating on behalf of the Banyule community for the best outcomes as the NEL progresses.

The route

On 7 August 2017, four route options were announced by the Victorian Government for North East Link - Corridors A, B, C and D.

Learn more about the preferred North East Link route and how it was chosen.

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Public Review

In 2019, the EES was released for public exhibition. It looked at the possible impacts of the construction of the North East Link.

In March 2019, we ran a community forum to support our community to prepare for the EES submission process. We also reviewed thousands of pages of information to make submissions on behalf of the Banyule community for the Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) Panel Hearings. All submissions can be viewed at Engage Victoria.

We enlisted several experts, including an international tunnelling expert, to explore options to extend the North East Link tunnel and replace an open trench section to reduce the impact on the Banyule community.

On 13 September 2019, a joint closing submission by Banyule City Council, the City of Boroondara, Whitehorse City Council and Manningham City Council was made to the Panel.

After the hearings, the IAC provided its report to the Minister for Planning, after which the Minister released his assessment of the EES.

The Minister did not support certain recommendations of significance to Banyule, including the exclusion of Borlase Reserve as a tunnel boring machine launch site, an extended tunnel option near Watsonia and the designation of Simpson’s Barracks as a no-go zone. The Minister otherwise gave their approval to proceed.

In January 2020, the Victorian Government gazetted the Planning Scheme Amendment GC98 for the NEL.

In February 2020, the Council Alliance (Boroondara, Banyule and Whitehorse) and Manningham launched a North East Link legal challenge due to concerns about using a draft reference design for assessing impacts of the NEL and approving the project.

In July 2021, the challenge was withdrawn after lengthy negotiations that provided better outcomes for our community. The legal challenge update can be viewed here.

Design and Works

In late 2019, NELP appointed CPB Contractors to undertake Early Works for the project. The works primarily included service relocations and are almost complete in Banyule.

In 2021, Spark was announced as the preferred bidder to undertake tunnelling works. The project is yet to announce bidders for other key elements in the project such as the completion of the M80 Ring Road.

From 11 to 31 May 2022, the Urban Design Landscape Plan (UDLP) for the North East Link Tunnels was available for public comment. Key elements of the UDLP include:

  • North East Link Tunnels
  • Lower Plenty Road interchange
  • Greensborough Road
  • Borlase Reserve parklands
  • Tunnel ventilation structure
  • The North East Trail through Watsonia, Macleod, Yallambie and Rosanna

Banyule provided a submission regarding the UDLP on behalf of residents. This was endorsed by Council on 27 June 2022.

Currently, UDLP submissions are being reviewed, after which the final draft UDLP will be submitted to the Minister for Planning for approval.

In late 2022, upcoming Spark works include the realignment of Greensborough Road between Wattle Drive and Watsonia Road, and setting up construction sites on the east side of Greensborough Road and at Borlase Reserve and Winsor Reserve.

We continue to advocate on behalf of Banyule's residents, businesses and the community as the works for the North East Link progress.