The planning approvals process for Victoria’s biggest road project has started, with an Environment Effects Statement (EES) for North East Link now out for public comment.
The project will fix the missing link between the Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road – slashing travel times and taking more than 15,000 trucks a day off local roads.
The North East Link will also upgrade the Eastern Freeway to streamline traffic flow and reduce congestion, and build a new dedicated busway along the Eastern Freeway.
According to Premier Daniel Andrews, building such a large project through a highly developed urban area presents a range of potential impacts and challenges.
“Housing acquisition has been kept to a minimum, with the number of homes needed reduced to less than 50. Based on the current reference design in the EES, around 100 businesses in the Bulleen Industrial Zone still sit within the construction footprint of the project and are expected to be acquired,” Andrews said.
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Suitable sites for relocation are being explored with local councils in consultation with businesses, and a North East Link site office will soon open in the industrial estate.
A Bulleen Business Liaison Group has recently been set up by the North East Link Project team to work with businesses on their specific issues and help them through the planning and approvals process.
“Better noise walls will be built as part of the project, with a new noise standard of 63 Db(A). The noise standard will provide better protection from noise for homes along the Eastern Freeway where a noise standard of 68 Db(A) currently applies,” Andrews said.
Significant community feedback and over a year of technical studies have shaped the 10,000-page EES, including specialist reports on 18 key topics that the community will have 40 business days to review.
People can have their views considered as part of the planning approvals process by commenting on the EES.
Submissions close on Friday 7 June, with hearings expected to start in late July.