Feb 26, 2009

First section of Western Ring Road upgrade announced

First section of Western Ring Road upgrade announced

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 26 2009

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas today announced that the first major section to be upgraded in the $2.25 billion Western Ring Road project will be between the Tullamarine Freeway and Sydney Road.

Mr Albanese said the Western Ring Road was being upgraded to increase traffic capacity, improve safety, ease congestion and improve travel times along one of Melbourne’s key transport corridors.

“Improvements to this section will include an extra lane in both directions, reconfigured interchanges and ramps, as well as the implementation of other traffic management initiatives that will help traffic flow better,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Western Ring Road project demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to investing in and improving our road network.”

Mr Pallas said that VicRoads would today invite industry to submit proposals to deliver the section of works in partnership with the Brumby Government.

“The aim is to have an alliance contract in place in July so construction can get underway by early 2010,” Mr Pallas said.

The Western Ring Road is part of the M80, which spans 38 kilometres from the Princes Freeway at Laverton to the Greensborough Highway at Greensborough.

“The upgrade to the entire M80 Ring Road is expected to take more than five years with the most congested sections being worked on first. This upgrade will not only improve traffic flow by also provide a safer road for motorists,” Mr Albanese said.

“Up to 16 per cent of traffic on the M80 is freight, which means it is a vital distribution link between Melbourne, the Port of Melbourne, the airports, regional Victoria and interstate locations – this upgrade will provide an important boost for these transport links,” Mr Pallas said.

Early works on the upgrade were announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier John Brumby in December last year. Construction has already started on adding an extra lane to the M80, Altona-bound from the Deer Park Bypass to Boundary Road. These works are on track to be completed by mid-2009.

The M80 Ring Road Upgrade is jointly funded by the Victorian and Australian Governments.