Drivers in Melbourne’s north are set to benefit as the next section of the $2.25 billion M80 Ring Road Upgrade got underway today between Edgars Road, Thomastown and Plenty Road, Bundoora.
Victorian Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, and Federal Member for McEwen, Rob Mitchell, were on site at Thomastown today to get work started on this six kilometre stretch.
Minister Mulder said the latest works add to the 16 kilometres of construction already underway between the Western Highway and Sunshine Avenue, and from the Calder Freeway to Sydney Road.
“As Victoria’s biggest road project on the ground, the M80 Upgrade is providing a much needed boost to the state’s economy, directly supporting up to 6500 jobs over the life of the project, with thousands of other flow on jobs for services and suppliers,” Mr Mulder said.
“When completed, the improved freeway with extra lanes and better access will help ease congestion, and reduce travel times and costs for commuters, and importantly for road freight industry, with 20,000 trucks currently using the Ring Road each day.
“With works now underway between Edgars Road and Plenty Road, around 60 per cent of the Ring Road is now being improved.
“When completed in mid 2014, this section will have three lanes in each direction to significantly reduce congestion and improve safety.”
“Between interchanges there will also be an additional lane in each direction to minimise the congestion impacts of vehicles entering and exiting the freeway from adjacent interchanges.”
Mr Mitchell said more than 140,000 drivers use the M80 Ring Road every day, making it Melbourne’s second busiest freeway.
“That’s why the Gillard Labor Government has invested $900 million in the upgrade to date, along with $300 million from the Victorian Government,” Mr Mitchell said.
“Across the 38 kilometre corridor, the upgrade will also improvements to key interchanges and a state-of-the-art electronic freeway management system.
“As someone who uses the Ring Road regularly, I understand how people in our communities rely on the Ring Road to get to work or into the city and travel to see family and take the kids to sports.
“So the start of these latest works as part of the overall M80 upgrade will no doubt be welcome news.
“There is further good news in store for drivers, with new lanes due to open on other sections later this year.”
Minister Mulder said the works were being planned and delivered to minimise the impact on drivers and the community.
“Drivers travelling through this new work zone can expect changed traffic conditions including temporary lower speed limits and narrowed lanes,” Mr Mulder said.
“The safety of all road users and workers is paramount so we ask drivers take extra care through construction areas and be alert to these changes.”
The M80 Ring Road Upgrade is a $2.25 billion project jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, and is a vital part of the Australian Government’s Nation Building Program.