Victoria Minister for Roads Terry Mulder
East West Link Is Declared Under Major Transport Projects Act
Victor P Taffa
The East West Link is a step closer after its declaration as a major project under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009, paving the way for early planning on the landmark project.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the move to declare the East West Link was further demonstration of the Coalition Government’s commitment to the project and the economic and social benefits that it would deliver for Victoria.
“The East West Link is a city-shaping project that would provide an alternative cross city connection to the Monash and West Gate freeways, and transform the way that freight, business and people travel around Melbourne into the future.” Mr. Mulder said.
“As Melbourne grows and changes, and demand for travel increases, being able to make relatively fast and reliable east-west connections across the city is becoming more and more important for businesses and the future prosperity of our city.”
“The Coalition Government is getting on with the job of planning for this vital transport initiative and making sure we can meet current and future demand for cross city travel, while slashing congestion and improving local amenity in the inner-north and west.”
Mr. Mulder said the declaration of the eastern section meant that the entire East West Link project was now covered under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009, with the western section previously declared in 2010.
“The eastern section will link the Eastern Freeway to CityLink along the general Alexandra Parade corridor with a connection to the port area, completing a massive gap in the freeway network and fixing the farcical situation where a major freeway like the Eastern stops on the doorstep of the city.”
“A project of this massive scale needs to be planned in its totality and we need to consider its overall impact on the transport network and urban development, as well as how it might be financed and delivered.”
“Declaration under the Act puts us in a position to undertake more in-depth planning, as well as to undertake formal planning processes and gain delivery powers as the project progresses in the future.”
Mr. Mulder said work on the East West Link business case was near completion and would be presented to the Coalition Government for consideration in early 2013.
“Since funding the business case in May this year we have done a massive amount of work, with geotechnical drilling undertaken at 43 sites along the corridor to assist with engineering evaluations, and market engagement undertaken to provide insight into potential financing options for the project.” Mr. Mulder said.
“Following an initial industry briefing of more than 100 representatives in July, the Department of Transport and Linking Melbourne Authority met individually with more than 40 entities representing construction contractors, financial sponsors and debt and equity providers.”
“The clear message we are hearing is that there is very strong support for the project, particularly amongst international participants from countries including Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, China, Canada and the United Kingdom.”
Mr. Mulder said the East West Link was a proposed 18 km cross city connection between the Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road. The business case for the project will be considered by Government in early 2013, with the next steps to be determined after that time.