Parkville, Royal Park to be transformed under East West Link plans

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Melbourne Leader: Parkville, Royal Park to be transformed under East West Link plans. Nic Price. 30 September 2014

West Parkville and Royal Park will undergo significant changes as part of the East West Link, although no extra properties will be compulsorily acquired.

The government signed contracts for the $6.8 billion project on Monday and said 88 owners would be offered voluntary acquisition as well as about 110 compulsory acquisitions.

Significant works will take place around the Parkville exit on Ross Straw Field including:

*A new road between Mt Alexander Rd and Racecourse Rd;

*A walking bridge over the Upfield rail cutting between east Royal Park and Ross Straw Field;

*Sports fields, lighting and a pavilion south of the State Hockey and Netball Centre;

*A new car park north of Melbourne Zoo;

*Expanded wetlands in Ross Straw Field to hold an extra 20 megalitres of irrigation water;

*Ventilation stack at the top of the cutting;

*On and off ramps at Ormond Rd;

*New water themed playground in Ross Straw Field;

*New green stick to go nearby the famous ‘cheesestick’.

Most of the tunnel will be bored, but west of Elliott Avenue will be constructed using cut and cover techniques.

Work will start at the Parkville end and most heavy trucks disposing of spoil will go straight onto CityLink, although some will use Elliott Ave.

At the Collingwood end, a wave-shaped aluminium overpass will link Hoddle St and the Eastern Freeway.

The ventilation stack will be situated in the Alexandra Pde median between Gold St and Wellington St and will be a “little higher than a two-storey building”.

The initial $6.8 billion cost of the project is comprised of $3.3 billion from East West Connect (the private consortium building the road), $2 billion from the Victorian government and $1.5 billion from the Commonwealth.

However, the full cost to the taxpayer will be impossible to determine for 25 years as, under the public private partnership agreement, the consortium will be paid a fixed, quarterly fee to operate and maintain the tunnel.

The government aims to offset that with toll revenue, but refused to disclose how much the fixed payments were or what the toll would be.

The government estimates about 80,000 vehicles a day will use the project when it opens in 2019 and pledged to set tolls “comparable” to EastLink and CityLink.

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