Sections of the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne’s east are set to have their speed limit reduced from 100km/h to 80km/h for five years as part of major upgrades, scheduled to kick off early next year.
As reported by The Herald Sun, these upgrades to the Eastern Freeway will last until it’s connected with the M80 Metropolitan Ring Road by the forthcoming 6.5-kilometre North East Link Tunnels.
In addition to the reduced 80km/h speed limit on parts of the Eastern Freeway during the works, there will also be a new 40km/h speed limit at night time.
The Eastern Freeway is progressively being widened in certain sections from 12 to 16 lanes. In total, 45km of lanes will be added, which is expected to save motorists 11 minutes in travel time.
The project will also deliver Melbourne’s first dedicated busway from Doncaster to the city, as well as an upgraded Park and Ride at Doncaster.
The first stage of the Eastern Freeway upgrade is set to commence in the new year and will take place between Burke Road and Tram Road.
Detailed designs for this stage have been released for public comment. These include new and upgraded noise walls, as well as improved walking and cycling connections.
According to The Herald Sun, the government claims no existing lanes will be closed during the day for this particular stage of the upgrade, although night closures are expected.
The next stages, between Hoddle Street and Burke Road as well as between Tram Road and Springvale Road, are expected to commence in 2025.
These stages will be staggered so the entire Eastern Freeway upgrade project is completed and connected to the North East Link Tunnels by 2028.
When complete, the North East Link Tunnels are claimed to reduce travel times by 35 minutes and also take 15,000 trucks off local roads per day.
“We’re getting ready to deliver the first major upgrades to the Eastern Freeway since the 1990s, building Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, slashing travel times and connecting people to the new North East Link tunnels,” said Victorian Minister of Transport Infrastructure Danny Pearson in a statement.
“In a Victorian first, we’re introducing new tougher night-time noise standards – giving residents better protection from traffic noise at night.”