Infrastructure Australia has given the go-ahead for stage two of the mammoth Monash Freeway upgrade, which will see the eight-lane motorway expand to 10 lanes.
The federal government will provide $500 million of the estimated $711 million needed for the project, with the Victorian government to supply the remainder of the funds.
“Without action to increase capacity on the Monash Freeway, drivers in Melbourne could face slower and less reliable travel times,” Infrastructure Australia chief executive Philip Davies said in a statement. “This will worsen as freight and commuter demand grows, particularly where the Monash Freeway intersects with the Princes Freeway and at the entry and exit ramps.”
The works will see the construction of 36 kilometres of new lanes, with two additional lanes added to the highway from Warrigal Road to Eastlink, which is currently eight lanes wide.
Between Clyde and Cardinia roads, the highway will expand from four lanes to six. The state government claims this will reduce typical peak-hour commutes between Pakenham and the city by nine minutes.
The Beaconsfield Interchange will also be upgraded, and O’Shea Road in Berwick will be duplicated and extended to meet the interchange. New electronic signage providing drivers with live traffic updates will be installed from Beaconsfield to the South Gippsland Freeway.
Jacksons Road in Noble Park North will also be linked directly with EastLink.
It’s predicted the project will create around 600 construction jobs over three years.
In March, the Andrews Government pledged the stage-two works would begin in late 2018, pending the independent national infrastructure body’s approval.
The construction of new lanes is expected to commence mid-2019, following a tender process, and they are expected to open in 2022.