Legal block to North East Link unwarranted, says RA
Legal action to challenge the North East Link Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process is unwarranted and obstructionist, according to RA.
Three suburban councils - Boroondara, Whitehorse and Banyule - have launched a Supreme Court Challenge against the EES process for North East Link. A fourth council – Manningham – will decide next week if it is to join the court action.
According to media reports, the Councils argue that the full extent of environmental and community impacts are unknown because the process to date has been based on a reference design.
However, RA CEO Michael Kilgariff said this week using a reference design to inform the EES/planning process is nothing new, and completely justifiable and logical on a project of this scope.
“We always knew North East Link was going to have significant impacts on the environment and the community,” Mr Kilgariff said.
“The EES process has set very clear parameters and expectations around the final design, whilst still allowing for innovation and flexibility to achieve the best overall outcome for the community.
“The environmental management framework (EMF) and performance requirements that are now being finalised will put the onus squarely on the designer and builder to manage and mitigate the risks throughout the delivery of the project, overseen by the North East Link Project office.
“The community engagement process for this project has been unprecedented and will continue right up until the final bitumen is laid.
“With Melbourne set to become Australia’s largest city by the middle of this decade, we can’t afford to delay a project that Victorians endorsed at the last election and desperately want to see built.”
Contract awarded for new Nowra Bridge
Work on the $342 million Nowra Bridge project will begin soon with the design and construct contract awarded this week to Fulton Hogan Construction.
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the new four-lane bridge over the Shoalhaven River would improve traffic flow on the Princes Highway and deliver faster and more reliable journeys in the Nowra and Bomaderry area.
“About 50,000 motorists already cross the Shoalhaven River every day and with traffic only set to grow, this project will ensure safer and more reliable journeys now and for the future,” Mr Toole said.
As part of the project, intersections at Illaroo Road, Bolong Road and Bridge Road will be upgraded and a new local road linking Lyrebird Drive with the Princes Highway constructed south of the current Pleasant Way intersection.
The existing southbound bridge will be retained for ongoing community use, such as pedestrian and cycle path access.
Early work such as utility relocation and demolition of acquired properties will start in the coming weeks with major work set to start later this year. The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2024, weather permitting.
Alliance chosen to remove Cherry Street level crossing
A $113.8 million contract has been awarded to an alliance of McConnell Dowell, Arup, Mott MacDonald and Metro Trains Melbourne to build a road bridge over Melbourne's Werribee Line, creating a direct connection between Tarneit Road and the Princes Highway.
Due for completion in 2022, the project will reduce travel times for drivers and build better, safer connections for pedestrians and cyclists. The area will also benefit from a new pedestrian underpass, landscaping and a shared-use path on the south side of the rail line.
The successful alliance has already removed three level crossings across Melbourne and is also currently building a new stabling yard at Wyndham Vale.
Werribee is also set to lose two more level crossings, with the Old Geelong Road and Werribee Street crossings to be removed by 2022.