NE Link Media Statement Dec 2016

                     Friends of Banyule                                                  

Media Statement - North East Link - 12 December 2016                              

 

The Victorian government announced on 11th December that it will build the North East Link freeway, the so called missing link. The project will be initiated with $35m for business case development, consultation, and route selection, to be completed by 2018. Planning approval and tender process will begin in that year. The government states that it will not sign contracts before the next election. The cost will be approx' $10b and will take around ten years to complete.  A new North East Link Authority will be established, overseen by the Victorian Coordinator General, similar to that used for Metro Rail Tunnel and Level Crossing Removal Authority.

Our understanding is there are two potential routes: one the outer eastern route, via Nillumbik and Ringwood, joining the Eastern Freeway east of Mullum Mullum tunnel. The other a tunnel, south from the Greensborough Highway, via Banyule Flats across Manningham Rd and joining the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Rd. This would be devastating for our environmentally protected wetlands and  green open space.

The Banyule community need to build a case as to why the preferred route should not be through our significant open space and parklands, including Banyule Flats wetlands. It should be noted that hazardous materials and over dimensional vehicles will still likely use Rosanna Rd. Given the time scale involved; commencing 2018 with a ten year build, unless Vic Roads are pressed into taking action now, then Rosanna Rd congestion will continue to increase.

FOB does not believe that building more freeways will solve our rapidly growing city's ever increasing congestion problems in fact the reverse, as experience in Australia and overseas has shown (see Tony Morton of PTUA's article, Age 12/12/16 ).  Only when we take a holistic approach to transport across the board will we begin to address the problem in a comprehensive way. In the north, this would include Doncaster Rail, duplication of the Hurstbridge line, an airport link, an upgraded and increased bus fleet, connectivity between modes, new technology rail signalling etc. We need to strongly lobby government to take action on real alternatives rather than adding more lanes to existing toll ways or building more freeways to try and solve congestion problems, which clearly isn't working.

Both Council and the community need to take action on this and hopefully adopt a coordinated approach. We need to lobby our political representatives at all levels including at Council meetings and public forums, where these critical issues can be discussed and, develop a lobbying strategy to press our case.

Dennis O'Connell

President, Friends of Banyule                        PO Box 577 Heidelberg 3084

Email: info@friendsofbanyule.org                  www.friendsofbanyule.org

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