The billion dollar upgrade of Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road has reached another milestone with the opening last night of a new additional Altona bound traffic lane between Melrose Drive and Steele Creek in Tullamarine.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the new lane is part of a wider upgrade of the Calder Freeway to Sydney Road section, which will deliver at least three lanes in both directions when completed early next year.
“The work that is currently underway along this vital commuter and freight route is part of Federal Labor’s ambitious plan to keep Melbourne moving, one that recognises the task of renewing and expanding its transport infrastructure requires a partnership between all levels of government,” said Mr Albanese.
“As well as widening the road, we are also installing a new electronic freeway management system to give VicRoads the tools it needs to better manage traffic flows and ensure that over the longer term we get the most of the significant investment we are now making.
The M80 Upgrade is jointly funded by the Federal ($900 million) and Victorian ($300 million) governments. The Furlong Road to Sunshine Avenue section will be completed this year, the Tilburn Road to Furlong Road section next year and the Edgars Road to Plenty Road section in 2014.
Mr Mulder said the extra lane is good news for the 142,000 motorists and truck drivers a day who use what is Melbourne’s second busiest freeway.
“The new 1.5 kilometre lane between Melrose Drive and Steele Creek will ease congestion along this stretch of the Ring Road and deliver quicker, safer and less frustrating driving conditions,” said Mr Mulder.
“As well as extra lanes and new technology, the rebuilding of the M80 into a modern piece of road infrastructure able to support the City’s continued growth also involves redesigning key interchanges, and I want to again thank motorists for their patience while this work is being carried out.
“Nonetheless, in the short term this massive project is generating positive economic spinoffs including some 6,500 direct jobs.”