The Australian state of Victoria wants expressions of interest for a US$5-6.5bn project to build a partly underground motorway around Melbourne.
Called the North East Link, it would be the state’s largest road project and will fill in a missing link in between the Eastern Freeway (pictured) and the M80 Ring Road.
It will cut travel times by 30 minutes, take 15,000 trucks off local roads, and link growth areas in the north and south-east, according to the government’s website.
The state says the project will also deliver more than 25km of walking and cycling paths.
Expressions of interest will help Victoria create a list of potential bidders from which it will invite detailed tenders, as planning and environment requirements become clearer.
The project still needs planning approval and the environment effects statement has yet to be put out for public comment. This is scheduled to happen mid-2019.
Victoria hopes construction for the missing link could start in 2020.
Image: Morning tailback on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway, near Hoddle St exit (BlackCab/Creative Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)