Works to pave the way for major construction on the North East Link Tunnels are ramping up at several sites – from Watsonia to Bulleen – across the project corridor.
The North East Link is the largest ever investment in road infrastructure in Melbourne’s north-east, featuring Victoria’s longest road tunnels.
The main launch site for the two massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) is already taking shape at Watsonia.
In the coming weeks, crews will begin the realignment of a 300-metre section of Greensborough Road between Wattle Drive and Watsonia Road to create space for the construction of the TBM launch box while also keeping traffic flowing alongside tunnel construction work.
“North East Link is more than just Victoria’s biggest road project – it's the biggest-ever investment in Melbourne’s North East, getting trucks off local roads and slashing travel times.
“With our TBMs on order, locals will see a lot of activity as we make changes to Greensborough Road to keep traffic moving before welcoming our tunnel boring machines,” Premier Jacinta Allan said.
Near Winsor Reserve, works will also begin on a large acoustic shed that will support the TBMs by helping contain noise, dust and light spill as well as allow for excavated dirt to be safely loaded onto covered trucks inside the shed and securely transported off site.
Beginning next month, crews will establish work compounds along Greensborough Road and Bulleen Road in preparation for the construction of ramps and tunnel entrances along with the new tree-lined boulevard along Greensborough Road, and tunnel ventilation.
Other works will include the removal of trees and vegetation within the project boundary, which is in line with the project’s extensive environmental approvals. However, as many trees as possible will be kept – including the much-loved Bulleen River Red Gum – and over 30,000 trees are going to be planted.
At least two trees are going to be planted for every tree removed to build the North East Link. This is being carried out as part of the largest tree planting program for a major road development in the State.
Community groups will also be benefiting from a new fund to support local projects as construction ramps up on the North East Link. The approximately $10 million North East Community Fund will support the delivery of projects, big and small, that bring lasting community benefits to areas that are heavily impacted by the construction of the North East Link.
Funding grants of up to $100,000 will be available for projects such as tree planting, community festivals, new equipment for local sporting clubs, and upgrades to the community centre. In addition, $100,000 for community partnerships will be considered for bigger community projects. These funding commitments build on the $68 million that has been invested in community sports facilities across the northeast.
Submission of applications for the first round of funding is now underway and will be open until 21 August. More funding rounds will be provided annually during the construction phase of the North East Link.
“This new fund is a great opportunity to support community projects as we build this project that will change the way people move around the north-east and ultimately give local roads back to local people,” Member for Bundoora Colin Brooks said.
“Not only are we going to get trucks off local roads – we’re going to work with the community to maximise the benefits of this vital project,” Member for Eastern Metropolitan Sonja Terpstra said.
The North East Link development is made up of five major projects. This includes the delivery of the State’s longest twin road tunnels that will fix the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network, the completion of the Ring Road in Greensborough, upgrades to the Eastern Freeway, construction of Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, and the delivery of more than 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths in 16 suburbs.
The North East Link is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments.
The entire project is estimated to create more than 10,000 jobs over its life, with recruitment for workers to build this significant road infrastructure continuing. More information on the opportunities and jobs available can be found on the North East Link Program jobs page.
In October 2021, the Spark consortium was awarded an $11.1 billion contract for the tunnelling package. The consortium is comprised of WeBuild, CPB Contractors, GS Engineering and Construction, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing, DIF and Pacific Partnerships.
The Victorian Government has unveiled the four potential corridor options for the North East Link, which will complete the missing link in Melbourne’s road network. This project is expected to create more than 5,000 new jobs during its delivery.
Victoria’s largest road development - the North East Link - is one step closer to beginning construction with the announcement of two shortlisted contractors to deliver the first package of works for the $15.8 billion project.
Formerly known as the PlantMiner blog, Felix Project News is Australia's top 10 Construction blog.
Join thousands of construction and mining pros getting the best content right in their inbox.
✓ updates on Australia's pipeline of state and federal projects
✓ fresh contract awards from major contractors and builders