Project Spotlight: M80 Ring Road Completion

Melbourne, Victoria

acciona, AECOM, AMA, M80 Ring Road, MACA Civil, North East Link, Victoria, victoria big build,

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The M80 Ring Road Completion project is a significant road infrastructure upgrade project featuring five new lanes and smart technology in Melbourne, Victoria. The project stretches from Greensborough to Watsonia, passing under Grimshaw Street, Elder Street and Watsonia Road. Eight new and upgraded bridges, underpasses and crossings will also be upgraded or built.

This development will divert 19,000 vehicles from Greensborough Road, significantly easing congestion and returning local roads to the community. It will also create thousands of jobs for Victorians and improve the communities surrounding the M80 Ring Road project.

The upgrade will connect seamlessly with the North East Link tunnels, directing traffic under the new Grimshaw Street interchange and landscaped bridges at Elder Street and Watsonia Road.

Construction works will begin in 2024 and are expected to be completed in 2028. M80 Ring Road will open around the same time as the Eastern Freeway Upgrades from Hoddle Street to Springvale Road and North East Link tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen.

Funding and contractors for the M80 Ring Road Completion project

AMA, a consortium comprising ACCIONA Construction Australia Pty Ltd, AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, and MACA Civil Pty Ltd, is set to deliver the $3.8b M80 Ring Road Completion project.

This budget accounts for the recent surge in inflation and the substantial rise in construction costs across Australia.

Significant disruptions are anticipated in the next few years as the M80 Ring Road Completion project requires substantial upgrades and integrates with the North East Link tunnels, Victoria’s largest road project in history.

Contracts awarded for the Eastern Freeway and M80 Ring Road Upgrade as part of the North East Link

M80 Ring Road construction design and features

An Urban Design and Landscape Plan (UDLP) for the Ring Road Completion was developed in response to community feedback. The construction features include:

  • 14km of new lanes on the M80 Ring Road
  • Eight new and upgraded bridges, underpasses, and crossings
  • 10km of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths
  • 4000+ trees planted
  • 19,000 vehicles off Greensborough Road a day to return local traffic

The M80 Ring Road upgrade includes five new lanes and smart technology from Plenty Road to the M80 Ring Road Interchange. The revamped Interchange will remove traffic lights, easing congestion and slashing travel times.

Greensborough Road will be rebuilt on both sides of new express lanes for the North East Link tunnels. There will be new shared zones on Greensborough Road that will give residents access to homes. Through traffic will bypass Grimshaw Street via dedicated underpasses, maintaining separate lanes for local trips and a bus priority lane to enhance public transport efficiency. Additionally, two new underpasses will be constructed to ensure safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

The redesigned M80 Ring Road Interchange, Trist Street Reserve and AK Lines Reserve in Watsonia have allowed space for various trees, plants, and new wetlands. These wetlands will store and purify rainwater and establish a new habitat area bridging Plenty Gorge and the Plenty River. Moreover, it will enhance walking and cycling paths, noise walls, and seating areas.

The Macorna Street bridge and underpasses at Yando and Kempston Streets will be upgraded to a wider bridge to enhance safety and improve local connections for pedestrians and cyclists. In response to community feedback, more space has been created for planting trees. On Nell Street, a wider walking and bike bridge will also be upgraded for better east-west connections for locals. The two-way access at Nell Street will not be upgraded as requested by the community.

Two landscaped bridges for Watsonia will be built at Watsonia Road and Elder Street to make routes to Watsonia Station and community spaces easier. The AMA consortium will also construct a new car park at Watsonia Station and upgrade connections for bikes and buses.

Designs released for the Eastern Freeway Upgrade and M80 Ring Road completion in Melbourne

M80 Upgrades

The M80 Ring Road Completion builds on a decade of significant upgrades along the M80, including adding extra lanes, new on and off ramps and bridges, and implementing a smart freeway lane management system.

Extending from Western Highway to Plenty Road, this system has been instrumental in enhancing traffic flow due to overhead electronic signs that regulate speed limits, lane availability, and response to incidents. These upgrades were carried out from 2010 to 2022 and have significantly improved the M80 Ring Road’s efficiency. The upgrades between Sydney Road and Edgars Road were completed a year early, opening to traffic in June 2022.

M80 Ring Road Environmental considerations

The M80 Ring Road Completion project is set to significantly improve noise standards for local residents. It will implement a stringent 63-decibel noise limit, aligning with Victoria’s highest traffic noise protection levels. This involves upgrading existing noise walls and constructing new ones.

In response to community feedback, Victoria Big Build is introducing a new, quieter 58-decibel standard, offering residents enhanced protection against traffic noise.

The M80 Ring Road Completion project includes a robust air quality management plan to address potential issues arising from construction activities and increased traffic. This involves monitoring air pollution levels, using dust suppression techniques during construction, and implementing strategies to reduce emissions from construction equipment. The project aims to maintain air quality within safe limits for the health of nearby residents and the environment.

Effective waste management will be adopted for the M80 Ring Road project. This includes the careful handling, disposal, and recycling of construction materials. The project will minimise its environmental footprint by reducing waste, responsibly disposing of non-recyclable materials, and maximise use of recycled materials.

The M80 Ring Road project will prioritise energy efficiency by integrating design features and technologies that lower energy use, such as energy-efficient lighting and machinery, and construction methods that minimise energy waste. These measures are key in reducing the project’s overall carbon footprint.

Numerous trees must be removed to build new interchanges, bridges, underpasses, and noise walls. At least two trees will be planted for every tree removed. Following community feedback, more trees will be planted in local areas, including parks, reserves and schools. Approximately over 4000 new trees will be planted for Victoria’s Ring Road Completion project.

Why is the M80 Ring Road Completion project required?

Upgrading M80 Ring Road ensures seamless integration with Melbourne’s largest road project, North East Link. It will facilitate efficient traffic flow between these major routes and enhance road safety through infrastructure upgrades.

This road infrastructure project will boost community connectivity and facilitate business access and trade. Catering to the city’s expanding population, it focuses on enhancing commutes for locals and supports environmental initiatives such as noise, air quality management, and energy efficiency. This project is a critical development for Melbourne’s current and future transport needs.

M80 Ring Road completed works and project status

Site investigations are still being undertaken to finalise the Urban Design and Landscape Plan (UDLP) for the completed M80 Ring Road. Major construction can begin after the plan has been submitted and approved by the Minister for Planning.

During this time, site compounds are being set up at AK Lines Reserve and Gabonia Avenue Reserve in Watsonia to contain worker amenities, materials and equipment storage, and parking needed to support major construction. At Watsonia Station, site investigation works are being undertaken to safeguard a gas pipeline ahead of nearby construction.

Construction crews are also gearing up to begin construction at locations along the M80 Ring Road and Greensborough Highway, including initial works to realign Greensborough Highway near Watsonia Road in 2024.

The M80 Ring Road Completion project in Victoria represents a significant step forward in enhancing Melbourne’s transport network. It plays a key role in linking with North East Link, thereby enhancing road safety and bolstering Melbourne’s economic growth and sustainability. It will bring lasting benefits to communities and the broader Victoria economy once construction is completed in 2028.

Source: © State Government of Victoria, Australia 2024

Source: © ACCIONA 2024

Source: © State Government of Victoria, Australia 2024

Image Source: © State Government of Victoria, Australia 2024

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