In a first for the state, the Victorian Government will collect tolls for the North East Link to pay for building and maintaining Melbourne’s freeway network.
A bill was introduced into the state parliament on 4 March to create the new State Tolling Corporation to provide for tolling and enforcement powers.
State-collected toll revenue will pay for long-term maintenance and ensuring the tunnels, road surface and roadside areas are kept in good condition.
Parliament will have approval and revocation rights for specific tolling arrangements including base tolls and rates of escalation.
Toll points will be finalised once the preferred bidder for the North East Link’s primary package has been selected.
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The Eastern freeway will remain toll free, with new express lanes and a dedicated busway, so will other local roads like Greensborough Highway and the M80 Ring Road.
Once built, the North East Link will carry up to 135,000 vehicles daily to connect the M80 and Eastern Freeway. The project is expected to reduce travel times by 35 minutes and take 15,000 trucks off local roads.
Works are set to start soon to move underground utilities, including 34 kilometres of gas, water and sewer pipes and drains.
“Tolling major infrastructure ensures we can continue building road and rail projects like the North East Link that will get people where they need to go sooner and safer,” said Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.
“We’re not wasting a minute getting on with the North East Link that will carry up to 135,000 vehicles daily, slash travel times and get trucks off local roads.”