Herald Sun: Abbott Government to contribute $1.5 billion for East West Link Stage Two. Annika Smethurst. 28 April 2014
The Abbott Government has doubled its commitment to the East West Link project. Source: News Limited
THE Herald Sun can reveal that the Federal Government will contribute $1.5 billion to bankroll East West Link Stage Two.
This doubles the Abbott Government’s commitment to the project, after contributing $1.5 billion for Stage One which the Prime Minister said would create about 3500 jobs in the construction phase.
In late February, Mr Abbott said a big federal cash injection for East West Link Stage Two, which will run from CityLink to the Western Ring Rd, would fast-track the full 18km toll road “by several years”.
He told Radio Gold 104 that Premier Denis Napthine had pushed hard for him to support Stage Two during a meeting.
“Denis said to me that they would like to build the two effectively simultaneously; work is going ahead very, very fast on Stage One of the East West Link,” he said.
“If they can get a significant commitment from the Federal Government towards the Stage Two to complete East West Link they can virtually build the whole lot together and bring the completion date forward by several years.”
The first stage of East West Link, which includes a 4.4km tunnel under Royal Park in Melbourne, is planned to be built by the end of 2019.
Extra lanes for CityLink, Tullamarine Freeway
It comes as the Victorian Government today announced that extra lanes will be added to sections of CityLink and the Tullamarine Fwy as part of a $850 million project that will create 700 new jobs.
The expansion, funded by Melbourne toll road company Transurban, is expected to boost capacity by 30 per cent and cut travel times between the West Gate freeway and Melbourne Airport by 16 minutes in peak times.
Under the plan, extra lanes will be added each way between the Bolte Bridge and Tullamarine Freeway, north of Essendon Fields.
There will also be extra lanes on the Bolte Bridge and a section of the West Gate Freeway, eastbound, between the Bolte Bridge and Power Street.
The project will start in 2015 and is due for completion in 2017.
There will be a freeze on any toll increases for cars, motorcycles and light vehicles for two years while work is underway.
But truck tolls will rise to become consistent with national prices for trucks on other motorways, to help fund the upgrade.
Transurban will fund the $850 million project from CityLink up to Melrose Drive in Tullamarine.
Dr Napthine said the State Government was negotiating with the Commonwealth for funding to complete the widening of the roadway from Tullamarine Freeway up to Melbourne Airport, estimated to cost $250 million.
He said the project will create 700 jobs and significantly reduce congestion.
“Those who regularly travel to and from the airport, or use CityLink or the Tullamarine Fwy will understand the significance of this announcement for Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.
“This project will complement the East West link and the Airport Rail Link, boosting their capacity and significantly reducing the risk of accidents for drivers.”
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Labor had committed to widening part of the Tullamarine Freeway and building a new road to take pressure off the Bolte and West Gate bridges.
He said he needed to see more detail before he could judge the Government’s plan.
“There is a need to widen that corridor, that’s why we committed to do just that six or seven months ago,” he told 3AW radio.
“I would need to see more detail before I was prepared to sign up.”