Four options were announced by the Victorian Government for North East Link on 7 August 2017 and referred to as Corridors A, B, C and D.

A number of councils, industries and individuals made submissions to the North East Link Authority on these options.

To help shape Banyule Council's submission, we wanted to know your thoughts on the corridors.

The Victorian Government announced Corridor A as its preferred route for the North East Link more than four months later.

Where we stand

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

Council has long recognised the need to complete Melbourne's Ring Road as a direct orbital link from the Metropolitan Ring Road to EastLink at Ringwood.

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

Melbourne needs 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

Below is a summary of our position on the process and each of the corridor options.

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

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 already heavily congested EastLink tunnels by mixing traffic going to different destinations.
  • Requires significant additional lane capacity to be built on the Eastern Freeway.
  • Adds to the already heavily congested interchange at Bulleen Road.

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 has been done 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 assess 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" -- 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 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.

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

Details about our position can be found in our response to the North East Link technical summary.