Tens of thousands of drivers in Melbourne’s north are a step closer to safer and quicker travel following the contract award for the second stage of the O’Herns Road Upgrade in Epping.
VEC Civil Engineering has been awarded the contract to build new intersections at Edgars Road, Gateway Boulevard and Koukoura Drive with traffic lights.
The upgrade also includes a diamond interchange providing direct access to the Hume Freeway, and a new lane in each direction between the Hume Freeway and Redding Rise.
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the contract award would mean the next stage of the project could get underway as soon as possible.
“This upgrade will improve access to the Hume Freeway and the surrounding northern suburbs, busting congestion in the area, and getting people home sooner and safer,” Mr Tudge said.
“This region is also experiencing extraordinary growth and this investment will help freight access overseas and interstate markets through Melbourne.”
The upgrade is jointly funded by the Victorian and Australian Governments.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the project would improve connections and encourage economic activity and jobs across the region.
“This area of Melbourne is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country and this project is part of the Government’s record investment major infrastructure improvements to better connect communities,” Ms Allan said.
“The O’Herns Road upgrade will help people to get home safer and sooner, create jobs and support businesses right across the region.”
Construction of the project has been given the green light following the granting of approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Australian Government recently approved the approach to managing the area’s biodiversity and places of natural and cultural significance including possible impacts to the local endangered Golden Sun Moth and vulnerable Growling Grass Frog populations.
Victorian Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny said she’s thrilled that the project has received the necessary environmental approvals so work can get under way.
“We fought hard to have Edgars Rd built to O’Herns Road and now it’s happening – along with residents, I can’t wait to see work start. This is a great relief and will complement our massive upgrade of O’Herns Road,” Ms Halfpenny said.
Senator for Victoria James Paterson said the upgrade would improve traffic flow, reduce travel times and make travel easier across Melbourne’s north.
“This project will transform the way residents move across Melbourne’s north by providing a new interchange with direct access to the Hume Freeway from O’Herns Road,” Senator Paterson said.
“Additional lanes along O’Herns Road between the freeway and Redding Rise, and the new traffic lights at the O’Herns Road and High Street intersection as part of Stage One, will help to streamline traffic flow.”
Drivers are already enjoying smoother, more reliable journeys around O’Herns Road following the completion of the first stage of the project.
As part of Stage One of the upgrade, the O’Herns Road and High Street roundabout was replaced with traffic lights, reducing queues and improving travel times for more than 30,000 drivers who use this intersection every day.
Construction of Stage Two of the O’Herns Road upgrade is due to commence in August 2019.
Early works are already underway along O’Herns Road and the Hume Freeway in Epping, including geotechnical drilling with the project expected to be complete by mid-2021.