More than $100m to fast-track Monash Freeway upgrade

The Victorian state government will invest more than $100 million in savings to fast-track upgrades on the state’s busiest freeway which will total to more than $1 billion.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday said the $400 million first stage of the Monash Freeway upgrade came in $111 million under budget – money which would be used to begin early works on the second-stage upgrade.

The government had previously slated $600 million for stage-two works, which would rise to $711 million with the savings.

“This is a massive upgrade for one of our most important freeways, it’s all about getting people home faster, getting our freight task to port, to markets quicker and a safer freeway as well,” Mr Andrews said.

“Anyone who drives this freeway every day, as I do, knows that this investment stacks up, it is absolutely what’s needed.

“Additional lanes, lane management technology, a faster, less congested freeway, a wider freeway – that is exactly what the growing south-eastern suburbs are entitled to.”

Full works on stage two await final Commonwealth approval, pending Infrastructure Australia’s assessment of the Victorian government’s business case, which it submitted on Sunday and said showed savings of $4.60 for every $1 invested.

Stage two would add 36 kilometres of new lanes to the Monash, expanding it from eight to 10 lanes between Warrigal Road and EastLink to the west, and from four to six lanes between Clyde Road and Cardinia Road to the east.

The Andrews government said this would slash nine minutes off a peak hour trip between Pakenham and the city.

Works on stage one would be completed later this year, the government said, with the same contractors used to roll into early works of stage two in late 2018.

Construction on the new lanes would start in 2019 after a tender process, and the new lanes will be open in 2022, the Premier said.

The federal government will contribute $500 million to the upgrade, funding which was earmarked for East West link which the Andrews government dumped in 2015.

The state government said it would publicly release the business case for stage two once it was approved by the Commonwealth.

Source: The Age