Business, Earthmoving News

Contract signed for Melbourne’s $11b North East Link

More than 8,000 jobs will be created after an $11.1 billion contract was signed to build Melbourne’s North East Link.

An artist’s impression of the North East Link project at Watsonia once completed

The contract has been awarded to Spark Consortium, which consists of Australian and overseas companies Webuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing Investments, DIF, and Pacific Partnerships.

Designed to link Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway to the M80 Ring Road, the tunnels involved will now be Victoria’s longest road tunnels after an additional 1.9km was announced.

Victorian transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan says the changes, and overall design, were implemented after “extensive community consultation” and believes the project will provide significant benefits once completed.

“Half a million Victorians live within two kilometres of a North East Link interchange,” she says.

“The tunnels are just one part of a massive investment in the north east – this project will change the way people move around Melbourne and deliver the road, bus, walking and cycling upgrades.”

North East Link will mean new tunnels, roads and parklands for Melbourne (artist’s impression)

The $11.1 billion contract with the Spark Consortium is a Public Private Partnership and will be a 25-year deal to build, operate and maintain the tunnels, which are expected to be operational by 2028.

North East Link was identified as one of six ‘high priority’ projects nationally in this year’s Infrastructure Australia Priority List.

Another high priority project, the new Western Sydney Airport, also had its contract announced this year with Multiplex winning the $5.3 billion job.

The Victorian government estimates up to 135,000 vehicles will use the new toll road each day and 15,000 trucks will be taken off suburban roads.

Travel times are tipped to reduce by more than 30 minutes once completed.

In addition to the tunnels, the North East Link project will also include six express lanes on the Eastern Freeway, Melbourne’s first dedicated busway and also provide more than 34km of walking and cycling paths.

There will also be new parklands created, including a 10 hectare park, a cultural precinct along the Yarra River’s banks, and Greensborough Road will turn into a tree-lined boulevard.

The project has been jointly funded by the Victorian and Federal governments.

New walking and cycling paths, plus Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, also form part of the project (artist’s impression)
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