The drive to Melbourne Airport along the Tullamarine Freeway and CityLink is set to be reduced by up to 16 minutes once an $850 million upgrade and expansion of the road is completed.
Transurban, who will fund the project, will upgrade CityLink between the West Gate Freeway and Essendon Airport on the Tullamarine Freeway to boost the road’s capacity by 30 per cent.
The two-year project will begin next year, with a freeze on car toll increases to offset the impact of construction.
To fund the project there will be an extra year of tolls on CityLink, with a one-year extension of the CityLink Concession for Transurban, taking their operation of the road to 2035.
The project will add extra lanes covering 33 kilometres between the Bolte Bridge and Tullamarine Freeway, north of English Street. There will also be extra lanes on the Bolte Bridge.
Premier Denis Napthine made the announcement on Monday morning in Pascoe Vale South, saying the project was being delivered as an unsolicited proposal.
“Road congestion costs Victoria, in terms of lost time and productivity, and this project will cut travel times by up to 16 minutes per trip during peak periods between Melbourne Airport and the West Gate Freeway,’’ Dr Napthine said.
The government says disruption during construction will be minimised, with the majority of work planned to take place outside peak periods.
The Premier also revealed the government was in talks with the Abbott government to widen the Tullamarine Freeway from Melrose Drive to the airport.
He said the project would complement the Airport Rail Link in terms of access to the airport.
“It will reduce congestion, it will increase capacity, it will reduce causality crashes by 20 per cent and will create 700 new jobs,’’ Dr Napthine said.
Dr Napthine said traffic on the road had swelled from 70,000 vehicles a day in 2000 to 150,000 in 2014.
The upgrade will include new traffic management tools including speed signs above all lanes, stop and go signals on ramps, and more CCTV cameras.