The multimillion dollar upgrade of the intersection between the Calder Freeway and Kings Road at Taylors Lake will now be completed before Christmas – six months ahead of schedule – and under-budget, with the savings to be used to deliver an even more extensive upgrade than originally planned.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Federal and Victorian governments were working together to build and modernise the road infrastructure the families and businesses of western Melbourne rely upon in their daily lives.
“As part of Community Cabinet I today visited the site to check out progress on the commitment we gave prior to the 2007 election – a commitment which I’m pleased to confirm will now be delivered six months early,” said Mr Albanese.
“What’s more, thanks to the expertise of the builder, BMD Constructions, and the efforts of its workforce, the upgrade is set to cost taxpayers less than the $50 million originally budgeted.
“The savings will be used locally to do even more, including undertaking safety improvements at the intersection between the Freeway and Sunshine Avenue. This news will no doubt be welcomed by the local community as well as all those who regularly use this part of Melbourne’s road network.
“The Federal Labor Government is delivering above and beyond what we promised.”
Mr Mulder said the work now being completed will ease congestion and improve safety around an intersection which in recent years has been the scene of one fatal and a further 15 serious accidents.
“Once the new interchange and related works are fully completed, we will see fewer accidents and over time less loss of life, which after all is the reason why this investment was made in the first place,” said Mr Mulder.
The Calder Freeway/Kings Road Interchange project has involved building an overpass of the Freeway, installing new on/off ramps and duplicating Kings Road between the Melton and Calder freeways. The new, additional work will be undertaken between February and June of next year and include:
- Extending an access road linking Highland and Oakbank roads to the new Kings Road interchange; and
- Upgrading the Sunshine Avenue and Calder Freeway intersection.
Mr Mulder said the good news doesn’t stop there.
“Communities across western Melbourne will also welcome the news that the upgrade to yet another section of the M80 Ring Road – this time between Edgars and Plenty roads – will start early next year following the awarding of the contract to Fulton Hogan,” said Mr Mulder.
“The $220 million project will build an additional lane in each direction and new auxiliary lanes. Once completed in 2014, motorists travelling to Melbourne from places like Whittlesea, Wallan, Mernda and Kilmore can expect smoother, less congested driving conditions.
Mr Albanese said the Federal Government had so far committed $900 million towards upgrading and widening congested sections of the M80, with the Victorian Government contributing a further $300 million.
“We’re determined to get this job done as quickly as possible,” said Mr Albanese.
“That’s why, I’m also announcing today that the Federal Government will bring forward a substantial component of our funding – $167 million – to make sure the work currently underway is completed as a matter of urgency.
“The Federal Labor Government has a plan to move Melbourne forward, one that recognises the task of renewing and expanding its transport infrastructure requires a partnership between governments.”
In addition to the road projects outlined above, Melbourne’s western suburbs will also soon witness the start of construction on Australia’s biggest public transport infrastructure project: Regional Rail Link. This multibillion dollar project will separate metropolitan trains from regional services and allow more services to operate from Werribee, Sydenham and Craigieburn.